There is an account of my early life in
The Three of Us
My Animals and Other Family.
There is an account of how I started writing in a BBC Radio 3 Essay,
Doing the H and the L.
March 29 2013
I've written books on all sorts of disparate subjects, never knowing what the next one will be or how I will go about choosing it. But if I look back at what I have done over the years, there is a common thread which connects my novels, biographies (if that is what they are) and memoirs.
I am interested in predicaments: the predicaments that people find themselves in and how they learn to live with their particular situation. This is true of Napoleon discovering himself a prisoner on a small island; Goya confronted by the sudden onset of deafness; Billie Holiday and the racial prejudice which hemmed her in on all sides. It also includes my grandfather dealing with the colour of his skin in The Book of Colour; my way of surviving a bohemian childhood in The Three of Us and most recently, the people in the village in the mountains of Italy where I spend a lot of time, and how they managed with the chaos of the last war.
At the moment I am doing two books. The bigger one is about a Norfolk fisherman called John Craske (1881-1943) who became a painter and embroiderer when he was too ill to go to sea and the other will be a collection of stories which look at the circumstances, absurdities and unexpected events which were part of the process of the research and the writing of my books, including some I never quite finished.
Threads: the delicate Life of John Craske is due to be published at the end of 2014; Angels Dancing on a Pin should appear shortly after, maybe early in 2015. Three works by Craske will be included in the forthcoming Masterpieces of East Anglian Art exhibition which opens at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich this September. A comprehensive show of Craske's work , alongside a few paintings by his nearest artistic equivalent Alfred Wallis, will open at NUCA , the Norwich University and Art School Gallery in January 2014 and will then tour to several other venues.