Friday, September 25, 2009

What is Nicola Morgan reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Nicola Morgan, author of a number of critically acclaimed books for teens, including the Scottish Arts Council Award-winning Fleshmarket, Mondays Are Red, Chicken Friend, The Leaving Home Survival Guide, Sleepwalking, winner of the 2005 Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year Award, and the recently released Deathwatch.

Her entry begins:
There are three books by my bed just now, but I admit I'm not reading them all. One is there because I've just finished it and can't let it go; one is there because I'm reading it; and one is there because it's short stories and I keep it there for those moments when I just fancy a snack instead of a full meal.

Talking of meals, the book I've just finished is Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. Bit of a confession here: I didn't start it because I wanted to but because I thought I ought to. It was the YA book that "everyone was talking about" and a) I'm a YA author and feel I should be au fait with what's going on and b) it was being spoken of as a boundary-pusher and I was doing a talk about pushing boundaries in teenage fiction. I didn't expect to like it: though I do have a tendency to like the dark side of writing, this was supposed to be seriously shocking, and a couple of reviewers had said it was gratuitously shocking and unforgivably bleak. I thought it was utterly amazing. Never gratuitous and never bleak - though so many people have condemned the depressing ending that I'm wondering if either I missed something or I'm a heartless beast! If I tell you what boundaries it pushes and what taboos it breaks, it will put you off, so I won't. But Lanagan conjures up (and never was the word "conjures" used more aptly - she's a magician, surely?) a blood-dark Bruegelian landscape oozing richness and an extraordinary imaginary world that that you can almost smell; she deals with magic in a way that makes even...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Nicola Morgan's website and blog.

Writers Read: Nicola Morgan.

--Marshal Zeringue