Category Literary Criticism

Norman’s Conquests

This term, Tricycle Readers reads have included short stories from Chinua Achebe, Rose Tremaine, Julian Barnes, Salman Rushdie, and Nadine Gordimer. All these classic writers provide profound insights into the human condition through single scenes and/or singular narratives. People assume writing shorts is easier than writing novels. That isn’t necessarily true.¬†Characters and situations have to […]

Reading Allowed

After an Easter break, Tricycle Readers is back in the Paintbox Space at the Tricycle Theatre on the evening of Monday April 20. If you are inclined to join us, please do – we have work from Graham Swift and Stevie Smith. Later this term we are lucky to be hosting Zadie Smith who’ll be […]

The Best Laid Plans…

This morning my plan was to curl up on the sofa, shamelessly privileging indolence over activity on a splendid spring Saturday, and watch back-episodes of the long dead Keifer Sutherland series, 24. This was scuppered when the dishwasher man, who had not responded to a single texted call for help across the week, suddenly rang […]

Wolf Call

In recent weeks there’ve been few points of light to lift a work-strewn, chore-heavy, deadline-driven, and often bleak midwinter landscape. Angela Carter’s classic gothic tale, The Company of Wolves, rich with evocative prose from the shape-shifting heart of a forest teeming with lycanthropes, captures the mood of the season perfectly. We read it this week […]

Lights Fantastic

Light matters. This is the first discovery on moving our Tricycle Readers meetings to evenings. It’s easy to follow a story on the page when a room is flooded with natural light, but electric lights cast shadows and create dark patches. Having struggled a ¬†little with Kazoo Ishiguro last Monday, this week I set our […]

Write Stuff

“When I was eight, I got my first pen-pal. Forty years older than me, he was a prisoner on Death Row in Columbus, Georgia.” So began a presentation my daughter gave last week to an advertising agency. “I would write to him about who’d stolen my satsuma at break and as time passed, my suspicions […]

All In The Mindfulness

During a paper review on BBC News this morning, the subject of food banks was raised in relation to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement that hunger is a growing problem needing government support. His opponents say the problem is the poor don’t manage money well. I said managing money is difficult at all levels when […]

Textual Peeling

It’s past midnight and I’m printing off texts for this morning’s Tricycle Readers group – the last of the term. Each week I’ve expected the task of finding a story of the right length and quality for a 90 minute session to get easier, but it continues to be a challenge: a short story can […]

Processing Data

During a telephone interview for a writing job this week, I was asked if data was singular or plural. ‘Plural’ I gulped with fingers crossed, ‘Though people use it as both.’ After the call I went dashing to Wiktionary and was relieved to have data confirmed as a plural noun (singular, datum). I was grateful […]

Rhyme Scheme Investigation

The short story and poem analysed at today’s Tricycle Readers group were both by writers about whom there is little information although their writing is included in anthologies of important works. As the conversation circulated, new lines of inquiry kept presenting themselves. It was like being in a literary incident room with a team of […]