I wrote criticism for twenty years, with pieces published in The Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, The London Magazine, The Scotsman, The Scottish Review of Books, Scotland on Sunday and many others. From 2016 to 2018 I also wrote for Canada’s National Post group on books and music.
I no longer write criticism because I cannot afford the time. This is a shame, as I consider lively critical debate at all levels of the media – not just one national book show or a page in a national newspaper – to be essential to literary culture. However, most outlets have long since closed or reduced their books coverage and now pay freelancers less than the minimum wage.
In the samples below, I have included my unpublished essay on the work of Daniel Carney, the thriller writer who created The Wild Geese. This essay was developed in partnership with Carney’s family (he died in 1987 at the age of 43). As I say in my essay, Carney was no Stendhal or Dickens – yet his best novel, Under A Raging Sky, remains the only fictionalised account by a European of the Rhodesian Bush War, and a meaningful reflection on what might have become of that country before it succumbed to the ruinous regime of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Daniel Carney and Zimbabwe (unpublished essay, 2017)
With Glowing Hearts (published across Canada, 2017 – music feature)
A Wild Child with a String of Beads (The Times Literary Supplement, 2000)
The Many Humours of Geoffrey Hill (Stand Magazine, US/UK, 2017)
Review of Colin Browne’s Entering Time (The Vancouver Sun/National Post, Canada, 2017)