Playwright. novelist and all-round rennaissance man Neil Bartlett talks beauty but not size with Ann Donald.

Name Neil Bartlett.

Age 33.

Route to becoming a writer I started to write when I was seven. I started writing .llr ( ‘lit'e xllltl .Ilr Page on March I-l I992 in Riga. Latvia on the lirst day of spring. It w as the day the sun came out. the day people finally started to talk openly ahout living in a free country atrd the day I saw a young irrati of astonishing heauty standing naked on a third lloor halcony enjoying the warmth and the light.

Previous iobs I've worked as a drag queen. performance artist. lihrettist. designer. director. translator. actor. AIDS activist and fundraiser. I am now artistic director of the Lyric Theatre. Ilainiiiersmith.

Daily routine is'iss lover and dog goodhye. (ly in. Doiihle espresso. IIit office desk hy Illani latest. Work until I I.3()pm if I Iiave to. Days spent at home are very different ~ writing in four-hour stretches. gardening. iirne spent with my father. partner. alone on tops of hills or on heach with dog. gardening. writing again after midnight. Influences (ioytisolo. Purity. Rolfe. (ienet. chdell. Personal heroes are Simeon Solomon. lithyl Iiiclielhergcr. Charles I.udlam. (iiles llavergal. Ambition 'I‘o riot stop either fighting ot‘ caring. To own more jewellery.

Fears .»\II the usual. .‘ylostly losing my


I Slowness Milan Kundera (Fahei' .-\nd I’aher £I2.99) Kundera‘s fiction

often tends iovvards aphorisin. and this

slim irovel A his first for live years

cart appear like a sketch for an essay fleshed otrt with characters. Tackling his favoured themes of memory and

desire. Slow/less segues two parallel

i tales of seduction separated hy over

2()() years: an lSth century ("hevaliei' is Used as a dupe hy a French nohlewonian to divert her hushand‘s

suspicions from her real lover. while in the present a young intellectual fails to nail a typist at a dull conference on entomology.

The author muses on life under the camera give in the age of sound-hites and photo opportunities. and on the difficulties of investing a hectic world with meaning; or as he puts it. ‘When things happen too fast. nohody can he certain ahotit anything . . . not even himself.‘ Kundera's first excursion iii lirench can seem glih. htit is engaging and compellineg written. althottgli its hrevity and epigrammatic ceitainty are iii danger of exemplifying the very faults it seeks to expose. (David Harris)


I The Size Of Thoughts: Essays And Other Lumber Nicholson Baker ((‘liatto And Windus £l(i.()‘)) .-\n audacious

trovelist. Nicholson Baker is jerked into

jahhering life hy minutiae: at his hest when exploring the ohscrvations w e're too husy to follow up. Brit. you see. he

is Not Like l's. eren Baker writes ahout various aspects of the human

condition. he rarely hi'ings to his essay s the anticipated twinge of universal recognition. What appears to he an

analysis of the motivation of model-kit

Income I love to discuss si/c. htrt not in

this case.

Neil liar/leafs Hotel .11)“ (live .‘III(/ .III' Page is published on / April by Serpents 'Iai/ a! {9.99.


- poetry to music at THE


EASTER MONDAY (8 April). 2.30pm Tickets £4.50 (£2.50 concession)

Tickets available in advance from:

THE FRUITMARKET GALLERY 29 Market St. Edinburgh EH1 10F Tel. 0131-225 2383



I Motor Mouths 2 Sat I3 .-\pr. .Spm,

huilders turns out to hear little relation to any other human heing htit

Nicholson Baker himself. funny and fascinating thouin it is. The one. iiiipcnetrahle. fragment included here of Baker writing while stoned is truly scarey.

IIis milieu is the lihrary (or. these days. the ('I)-R().\I). and the two longest pieces w erc horn there: ‘Discards’. a rigorously journalistic opinion piece on the scrapping of card— indexes. and an exhaustive and

ultimately pointless history of the word .

‘lumher‘ in Iinglish literature. It‘s the strongest evidence yet that B;ikc'i"s lahotirs of love are exquisite follies. redeemed hy a gymnastic prose style and acrohatic intellect. (.-\laslair Mahhott)


I Kraven Images .-\lan lsler (Jonathan (‘ape £I-I.99) eren your first novel receives critical acclaim. there is the inevitahle question of whether the second hook will consolidate that success. Shortlisted for the I995 Booker Pri/e with The Prat/tee ()/ lliw/ lz'at/ .‘ll't’lIllt'. .-\lan lsler has created a follow—up novel that confirms his reputation as a new .Iew isli voice in comic literature.

I‘rom the opening scene of a childhood funeral. lx'rai‘e/i loiagt .y leaps

to l97-l where Nicholas Kraven is an Iinglish lecturer in the Bronx. w ho hecomes increasingly entangled in a w ch of hi/ari‘e events. A return trip to London ptits everything on a collision course with disastrous. farcical results. An intoxicating. hewildering set of characters precipitate a snowhalling sequence ofevents that lsler controls with assured skill and narrative mischief. Managing to push aside the profound iii favour ofthe playful. lsler is an author enjoy irig his imagination. never allowing himself to he distracted from the pure art of fun. (Paul Smith)


I The Black Album llanif Kureishi (I-‘aher .-\nd I‘aher £5.99) A highly-charged thriller from the author of li’ia/tl/ia ()f Sit/tarltia. this novel follows the exploits of Shahid. a l.ondon student. in the year of the fatwah and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kureishi's shrewd take on British life seen through the prism of his Pakistani heritage again makes fora i'ollercoaster of a read. lle sticks the fingers up at British literature. while carving it a new and exciting path.

I Hemingway’s Chair Michael Palin (Mandarin £4.99) Martin Sproale is Mr Normal. .\ small town deputy postmaster. his only deviation is art ohsessive interest in Iirnesi Hemingway. hut when anew postmaster with new ideas is appointed.

' Sproale is spurred into taking revenge -- in the sly lc of his hero. (.‘omic and calamitous. Palin writes in fittest .lat'ka/io/‘v for adults style.

I The Blue Suit Richard Rayner (Picador £5.99) Rayner arrived at (,‘arnhridge in l97-l. replete with a hltre catalogue stiit of inferior quality and. it would appear. a curious resemhlance to Jarvis C(K‘kc‘t‘. Shirking the opportunity of superior education. he emharked on a criminal career involving theft. forgery and hurglary. Ilis memoirs of this period are splendid and you're with him all the way. I Conversations With My Agent Roh I,ong tl‘aher .-\nd I‘aher £S.99) Long's lucky hreak came when he secured a script-writing position on (Wee/iv. Btit what do you do when such a successful show dies‘.’ 'I'his semi-tictional account of the denioralising process of initiating a new series. developing it and getting it on the air is cleverly written in script form and reasonath amusing. htit often self- indulgent. (Sirsaii Mackenzie)


I West End Creative Writing Class Tue 9 .’\pr. 7.30 9.30pm. £~l (£3). Info: 33-) I652. The last in a series of individual classes iii writing for pleasure. with tonight's session coy er ing poetry.

I Motor Mouths 2 in 12 .-\pi'. spin. (£2). (‘(‘.-\. 350 Sauchichall Street. 3 7521. Poet. writer and live .ir’tist Dorothea Smartt and singer/songwritcr .v\deoia team tip with writer/perforitiers I.eah 'I‘horn and Islia .\IcKeii/ie-.\Ia\ iriga for art evening of performance poetry.

I West End Creative Writing Workshops Sat I3 Apr. It).3()am -I.3()pm. £2() (£l5). Info: 33-1 1053 for info. Workshop in writing for pleasure with professional tutor. covering "reas such as poetry. prose and voicewo-k.

LS .33

£5 (£2). t‘(‘.-\_ 359 Sauchichall Street. 332 7‘2] .-\n evening of performance poetry

from .Iean ‘Binta' Bree/e. .-\kute Wall

; accompanied hy ja// tlautist Keith


I I | I


I Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze stm It :\pi'. 2pm. £2 (£1 ). (‘('.-\. 350 Sauchichall Street. 332 7521. .»\ writers workshop w ith this leading duh poet and storyteller. Places are limited .so hook early

I Janet leigh \Vetl l7 Apr. (r.3()piii. Glasgow l‘ilni 'I'lleatre. l2 Rose Street.

332 .\ I 2S. 'l'rckeis £ I .St) ( from (il’l~ or Dillons. IT-l .'\i‘gyle Street). Star ofover' 50 films and the woman responsihle for the most famous shower scene in history introduces her first novel Home ()_,r Immu- ( .‘ylira £5.99).

I Jilly Cooper 'I’hurs I.\' .-\pr. 5.30pm. l)lllt)lls. l7~l I) .-\i‘gyle .SII'L‘L‘I. J-Ih' 43 l~l. 'I‘he hest-sellmg author reads from her new hook .’l/)/’tl\\ftllltl/(I ('l‘ransworld H.399).


I Poems & Pints in 5 Apr. Taoism. £I5l) (U i. West lind Ilotel. Palmerston Place. Info: 340212. I'Idinl‘tnglr Writers (iirrup hold their monthly meeting. with special guests and I‘loot'spols availahle. .-\II are welcome.

I Lemn Sissay .\Ion >3 Apr. 2.30pm. £4 (£2 ). 'l‘he I‘ruitmarket (iallery. 29 Market Street. 225 2383. ’I‘he internationally acclaimed performance poet. recently featured in it BBC documentary tilitl on the leftfield alhum let/is)”. serves up some tnore of his 'incisive home truths'. with musical acconipaniment.

I The Yellow Cate Stiii l-I '\pr. 7.30pm. £2 (£I ). :\ssetiil)ly Rooms. SJ (ieorge Street. 220-1348. The popular poetry evening returns as part of Asseiiihly

Alivel. with a provisional line-up of

Kevin Williamson. (Kit. A 'I‘heatre

(‘ompany .'\ll\()ll Death and Kim ()liver. with D.Is Dolphin Boy and I-‘r‘osty .I supplying the sottiids.

I John Hodge and Bob Long Inc to .»\pr. 7.30pm. £3 (£I ). :‘vssemhly Rooms. 54 (icorge Street. 220 43-13. As part of the .-\s_setiil)l}' .-\livcl season. .S/ItI/lmi' (have and 'li'ai'lrv/rolltlie screenwriter .Iolin Hodge and scripr met from the hit liS comedy (Wee/iv Roh team tip for an evening of chat and signings. with long reading from his new hook (‘tt/ii'erxalioiix Ila/i .llv le‘t’lI! (I‘aher £S.99).

I Ian McKellan Inc In .»\pr (cotitact hrarich for time). \\'atei'stoiie'.~.. I28 Princes Street. 220 3600. One of Britain‘s most respected actors talks ahout his new film Rte/tart! /l/. and reads frotn the screenplay (puhlished hy 'I'ransworld at £7.99). which he wrote himself.

I Roddy Doyle Wed l7 Apr. 7 (LI I. .-\ssemhly Iv’ooins.5-1(}eorge Street. 22() -I3-lS. The author of such acclaimed titles as The ('ooiniirnie/irs. 'l'lte Snapper and the aw ard-winning l’at/t/v ('lark l/a Ila Ha. returns with his new offering. The Ito/nan Who II'a/ked Into Doors (Jonathan Cape £ I499). Part of Assemth Alive!

I Ben Okri 'I’hurs IS Apr. 7.30pm. £3 (£1). Assembly Rooms. 5-1 George Street. 220 43-18. The author of the 1991 Booker Prize winning novel T/It’ l’amisliet/ Road. reads from his new work Dangerous [.ove (Phoenix £15.99). Part of Assembly AllVCl

.3()pm. £3

78 Tire List 5- l 8 Apr I996