The author of Essays in the Air has published writing online and with newspapers. You can read more of her work online via her travel blog-logue Time Signatures and her Narrow Boat Blog. In 2014 she lived in London on a narrowboat with her boyfriend and cat Behemoth and worked as an English teacher in a comprehensive school in Wembley. In 2015 she moved to Ghent where she completed her first book – a collection of art-historical short stories called Phoenix Road. She is currently living in Iceland where she is preparing notes towards her critical-creative writing PhD commencing this September in North Wales.
Manifestos are not easy to write. It is difficult to compress hours of thought, or work into such a short space & sometimes feels reductive to do so. But manifestos also arise from revolutions in thinking: they are the flowers or visible symbols of cultural and material change.
If I had a creative manifesto it would be this: writers must rise to the challenge of multimedia publishing platforms and an age in which image constantly outstrips text. We are getting closer and closer to the German philosopher K.F.E. Trahndorff’s vision of the gesamtkunstwerk in which a work of art engages all the senses, and the visual dimension fuses with the textual.
Readers are no longer satisfied with Art for Art’s Sake-type arguments; they require books to be channels of learning and conduits of potential knowledge. Channel: a water-line which is also a communication-line. Writers are no longer novelists, fabulists or story-tellers. An essence has changed.
I don’t believe in the distinction between critic & artist. For me they are the same thing: the process of writing criticism is as necessarily imaginative as critical self-study and knowledge of the past is to the creative artist.
Interdisciplinarity is the great motto of our time. Some of the most advanced authors of recent decades – Robert MacFarlane, Geoff Dyer, W.G. Sebald – deny the ascendency of one particular field. They are journalists, anthropologists, cultural historians and travel writers. They are polymaths and their creations are many-levelled. Like Humanist scholars, they allow the Essay to be the great expressive fulcrum of their art.
Though I cannot aspire to their level – Essays in the Air is inspired by their example. It demonstrates a creative approach to criticism and eventually, a historiated approach to fiction.