Saturday, 10 May 2008

Ich bin ein ExBerliner

...as Kennedy is probably saying now.

The Berlin magazine ExBerliner has published a review of my book and an interview in this month's edition. If you haven't had enough of me already, please go click here.

I am also off to Berlin later this month (28 May) to give a reading at Kaffee Burger at 9.00pm. Do come along. I'll be the lanky bloke at the front with a book on his lap.

If you can't bring your tired finger to click on the magazine itself, here are a few tit-bits.

"This is the ultimate introduction: perceptive, comprehensive, and so evocative of the decadence and decay that marked turn-of-the-century Vienna that the streets and cafés seem to etch-a-sketch themselves onto the pages, a kind of literary biopic."

"Lewis Crofts brilliantly explores Schiele's fascination with female forms, starting with that of his sister, and their metamorphosis into symbols of patrician sanctimony. These sections of the novel are mesmerizing and come close to echoing the morbidity of writers such as Joseph Roth."

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Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Sex Goddess

I am honoured to be picked as a Book of Sin by The Daily Dolly. She writes a searing and sensual blog entitled The Sordid Swashbuckling Diary of a Sex Goddess. 'Nuff said, methinks.

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Sunday, 18 November 2007

Big in Malta

Malta: the much-overlooked jewel in the Mediterranean’s crown; the centre of Europe’s gambling industry; the playground of Man United footballers; the pillar of martial resistance; Caravaggio’s haunt; the heart of teenage language-school hedonism; the Rock in the sea... and the glorious reviewer of The Pornographer of Vienna: take a look at the learned review in the Times of Malta.

When Caravaggio had committed a murder in Italy he fled to Malta where the island took mercy on him and made him a knight. He also produced a remarkable masterpiece The Beheading of St John the Baptist in 1608, which still hangs in St John’s Cathedral in Valletta. At the bottom of the painting, the murderous Caravaggio signs his own name in the fresh blood spurting out of The Baptist’s neck.

I can see why the Maltese might take to Schiele.

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Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Things I would change

When your book sits on shelves and other people thumb away at it, it’s beyond repair. There are parts which you want to tweak; other parts which could be slashed and burnt. But without re-entering the debate on whether you can ever really finish a book, here are a few things I would change.

1) Introduce a car-chase in the Chapter 1: All great stories begin with a car-chase.
2) Give the love-interest a name like Ingrid von Luvpump
3) Guns. Give ‘em all guns.
4) Remove the single mention of the C-word: My Mum has to read this.
5) Introduce one blatantly anachronistic American to get the thing to sell in the US
6) Change the final line to: And then he woke up and realised it was all a dream.
7) Make Schiele’s father a midget with a hump and a limp and a stump
8) More smells: Yes, I read Sueskind’s Perfume and envied it
9) Slip the titles of Wham! songs in the dialogue: e.g. “But, Egon, that’s just a careless whisper.”
10) Introduce an Italian secretary and rename it The Stenographer of Sienna

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Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Telegraph strokes spine scandal

The scandal around the dust-cover design of The Pornographer of Vienna has reached the heady heights of The Daily Telegraph’s comment column. I hereby bid farewell to my reputation.

Spine tingler

Author Lewis Crofts is incensing browsers with his new work, The Pornographer of Vienna. The fictionalised account of the life of the Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele has reproduced a painting of the artist's wife on the cover, with the lady's knickerless regions positioned neatly across the spine.

"Disgusting!" complains one on Waterstones' website. "I would not want my children to see that."

"It's not grotesque - it's art," Crofts tells me. "Children can wander into galleries and see even more explicit pieces. Frankly, it could be a lot worse: I could have chosen a completely undressed piece."

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Saturday, 2 June 2007

Spinal Tat

It seems I’ve offended some people. Well, not me actually. The book designer. Good on him.

Since the book hit the shops, a few people have been expressing their “offence” and “indignation” at the book design which features a painting by Egon Schiele wrapped around the entire book. The woman’s face and torso are on the front and her legs are on the back cover. That, logically, leaves her genitals on the spine.

It seems that a few prim ladies browsing the bookshelves in the Home Counties have come across the spine, recognised - in the words of Courbet - “the origin of the world” and run away, blushing and spitting discontent at the state of modern publishing.

I had never head of www.indignation.org until yesterday but it seems to be a rather amusing puddle of bile, which has become a focus of all things degrading and ungodly: i.e. me, the designer and Egon Schiele.

For god’s sake, she’s wearing undergarments.

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Sunday, 20 May 2007

Blogging = me, me, ME, ME, ME!!

Someone once said "if conversation is like intercourse; then writing is like masturbation." If that is the case then blogging is the most indulgent form of self-gratification. There is a presumption on the part of the blogger that whatever he or she says/does/writes is of interest to other people.

Well, although I reckon my little corner of Belgium is of little interest to anyone (apart from my mum who just wants to check that this little corner of Belgium is clean and tidy), I've been persuaded to offer a bit more content to those valiant people visiting this site to see pictures of Schiele and spit at my photo.

From other writers I know one thing is clear: we all need to be comforted by the process, by the assurance that our words - which we put into different orders and then litter with dots and commas - are one day going to be read by someone and then put on a shelf. So, that's what I am going to do: post a few things about the publishing process, writing, reading, researching and stumbling around in this new world.

I know little more about publishing than I do about Islamic prayer mats (they are often in black and red), but while I flounder along I thought I'd record some thoughts.

If you don't like that, then here is a link to a prayer mat.

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