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Showing posts from April, 2008

scriptures of madness

Today has been much lighter so am now reading fiction again, spurred on by a great piece in the Evening Standard on Monday on Sebastian Barry's latest book, The Secret Scripture.  I don't usually buy hardback unless I really really want it, and I did!  Then my sister called me and just casually mentioned that she too had read of the book, although she didn't know the title, only a bit of the story, not knowing I'd already bought it!  The story is that of a hundred year old woman who, it seems, has been in Roscommon mental hospital for over fifty years.  It is alternately narrated by the doctor, worn down and dealing with marriage problems, and Roseanne, the main character.  I was attracted to it, and I suspect my sister was too, by the fact that it is set in a mental hospital in Ireland.  I am currently thinking about researching my own mum's troubled past.  My mum grew up in Manchester but her mother was Irish and had her sent away after her Dad died, first to a c…

Untitled

I haven't posted for over a week because I've been trying to keep body and soul together! Depression.  Some days have been far worse than others.  I get so frustrated at trying so hard to function and handle depression at same time as well as trying to control the huge waves of rage it brings up.  Some say depression is anger turned inward, but that makes me ask 'where is the safe place for the expulsion/expression of it, then?'  Certainly not in public.  It's a minefield, although it's not as if this 'black dog' has come out of nowhere, it has its roots in lots of external events - mum's stroke(s), feeling as though I've already said goodbye to her, putting our Dad's headstone up this week after a year and a bit and then financial insecurity, doing freelance work I don't like, and a few other deep disappointments to do with my studying for a PhD this year - it has all served to grind me down.  And as people who suffer prolonged bouts of…

Dazed & Confused

"Overall, this brave, pithy debut kicks you in the face, whilst making a mockery of bureaucratic society." Dazed and Confused

Middleton local paper review

Review from Middleton local.


"Manchester is experiencing a grim time, with girl gangs running the streets, sneering and dangerous. Webb brings this trans-gender versionof Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange upto date and into a frighteningly near futurescape. And like Burgess, Webb isalso a native of Manchester - orMadchester as she describes her one-time buzzing city of the same name. Violence and sex coincides with blunt teenage realism, philosophy, drug-taking and a strong self-determinism. In Webb's world girl gangs are best, boy gangs are just dim baby-men. The vocabulary is novel too. Words are created which become meaningful as the reader gets further into the story. Gang leaderette Alex runs her four member, boiler-suit wearing Grrrlz on a ruthless rampage through the city. Their secret weapon is a silver butterfly clip in their sraped-back hair. The clip also doubles as a razor-sharp blade for when they get into the numerous mini-wars they love so much. One co…

Grrrrr...

This is the copy of a letter I wrote to the Independent on Sunday this week following a rather childish and ignorant review one of their critics wrote last week. Like I say, I don't mind negative reviews - however, what I do mind is a middle-aged, middle-class man implying that this urban voice of a young girl is not fit for literature. He also gets details about me wrong which again shows he ill-informed he is.

Dear IoS,

Upon the release of my debut novel, A Clockwork Apple, I was interviewed by a group of fifteen-year-olds who run Exposure, an excellent magazine in Haringey, London – the issues they raised as a result of reading said novel showed their engagement with it. This engagement meant that they brought up political issues such as a two-tier education system, a celebrity soaked society, problems of addiction and an extreme nanny state – in short, they were acutely aware of the issues raised. They also commented on the character’s rage and her need to have access a…

Amazon

Heartened to watch the Amazon stock of A Clockwork Apple running low!!

Manchester!!

I had applied, and been offered a place, to study for a PhD at Manchester University this September. It would mean working on one particularly research intensive historical novel, also set in Manchester and, like A Clockwork Apple, would feature a feisty, self-determined heroine. Doing a PhD is an expensive business, and because of that I applied for funding from the AHRC, the main funding body. The Professor at Manchester who had offered me the place, helped me complete the application to the required standard and then it was up to the powers that be at the University which applications they would then put forward to the Research body. I received an email last Friday to say that mine had not been put forward. Most people would be disappointed and accept the decision with good grace, then set about raising the required funds from elsewhere, knowing that a PhD is now needed if you want to lecture/teach at university level. I was furious, though. Why? Well, before I studied for a…

Currently reading

The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Tolstoy The Room of Lost Things - Stella Duffy The Priest of Love, biography of D.H. Lawrence

Yoof of today!

Now that I'm a published author (!) it seems I am suddenly qualified to talk to the youth of today on writing. I think the minute I feel qualified to spout on about how others should write will be the day I am as far away from being qualified as I'm ever likely to get. But teenagers are tough interviewers. Last week I was summoned to the editorial office of Exposure,a north London magazine run by young adults for other young adults. I had four of them fire questions on A Clockwork Apple, and I was amazed at how much detail they remembered. The interview turned into an engaging debate about how teenagers are expected to behave and are in turn treated by society. I left feeling on a high - totally energised. I was glad, then, to learn I have been invited to give an informal talk next month in Brixton. There's also another as well as a workshop in Manchester for teenage girls from Moss-Side, my old neighbourhood and that of Alex and her Grrrlz from my novel. Yet never mind th…

Find out more...

New Statesman 4th April

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Manchester Evening News 2nd April

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Review

What The New Statesman thinks of A Clockwork Apple:http://www.newstatesman.com/200804030054

At long last....

My debut novel, A Clockwork Apple, is now out there. I went into Waterstones today to take a peek at how my baby was doing. I went to the 'W' section but it wasn't there. I went to the counter and there, next to the till, was a stack of my books being stickered with the '3 for 2' labels, ready for the main tables. Surreal is the only apt word, and is the only word to use for last night's launch at Housmans bookshop in King's Cross. I was surrounded by friends mainly - but also quite a few people I'd never met and I got plenty of experience scrawling my name on the title page. A good friend then put the icing on the cake by whisking me and my sister to The Ivy for supper! We talked about how far we had each come from our early struggles and how we had attempted to turn some of those struggles into a new creation that others could also share. I have to say that it was the best evening of my life to date and the memory of it will keep me warm for many a ha…