Neil Rathmell

Books, plays and blogs on literary topics

A difficult writer

Up to the age of thirty-one I had been hurt emotionally, spiritually and physically as much as thirty-one years can bear. I had lived in the South, I had fallen down … Continue reading

August 19, 2015 · Leave a comment


I prepared for my holiday in Dublin a few weeks ago by re-reading James Joyce’s Dubliners. I had read it first when I was only about seventeen and remember being … Continue reading

August 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

A poet’s voice

Writers talk about finding their voice. I was once told by a literary agent to whom I had sent a draft of a novel ‘we warmed to your voice’. But … Continue reading

July 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

Laurence Sterne and the modern American novel

There are three kinds of fiction: historical, biographical and anecdotal. Lord of the Flies, for example, is fictional history, describing a series of events taking place over a defined period … Continue reading

July 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

Hindle Wakes

Hindle Wakes is a play by Stanley Houghton, not about the awakening of someone called Hindle, but about a dirty weekend in Llandudno. Every northern town at the time when … Continue reading

June 24, 2015 · Leave a comment

Eugene O’Neill’s debt to George Bernard Shaw

Ah Wilderness! takes place on the Fourth of July in what Eugene O’Neill calls in his first stage direction ‘a large small-town in Connecticut’. The play is not, as you … Continue reading

June 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

A children’s book for grown-ups

When I heard that Harper Lee had written another novel, I decided that I could not put off reading her first one any longer. Everyone I spoke to was amazed … Continue reading

May 27, 2015 · 1 Comment

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