Ricardo Blanco's Blog richardgwyn.com

Fiction Fiesta, reality, and Alastair Reid

The first Borges story I ever read was ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, in the translation by Alastair Reid, while living in a derelict shepherd’s hut on a Cretan hillside. A couple of years later, like so many others… Read More

No ideas but in things

Since I began teaching creative writing, some fifteen years ago, I have become accustomed to the sad refrain from younger writers that although they fervently wish to write – or perhaps ‘become a writer’, which may or may… Read More

How long is a piece of string?

Or how long should a piece of writing be? Reflecting on this, in relation to a piece I am working on, I haphazardly check into an article in The New Yorker and am reminded by John McPhee that… Read More

Exhibit B in Santiago de Chile

  Continuing my readings of Alastair Reid, while travelling in Chile, I find the following: “The fictions we make are ways of ordering and dominating the disorders of reality, even though they in no way change it. The… Read More

Three things I learned from Cavafy

For a long time, while I was tramping around southern Europe, escaping the collective embarrassment that was Britain in the 1980s, I carried with me the poems of CP Cavafy. Other books I picked up and discarded along… Read More

Patagonian People

Driving with Hans Schulz towards the Alerces National Park on Monday, we passed this gaucho, who allowed us to take his photo. He was accompanied by four large dogs, who sniffed me respectfully but, like the horse, knew… Read More

The other side of the other

  In my last post I mentioned that perennial companion and source of consternation, the other, the doppelganger, the one who walks beside us, both ourselves and not ourselves. I cited the introduction from Orhan Pamuk’s memoir of… Read More

Random fragments

  In El País, Javier Cercas writes on the qualities of silence. He tells a story about a meeting between Borges and the famously reserved Italian novelist Italo Calvino in Seville in 1984, at a conference they were… Read More

Fiction Fiesta

  We met up in Nick’s bar, The Promised Land, to discuss literature in translation with some friends, editors, writers and such luminaries from the field of literary translation as Christopher MacLehose and Boyd Tonkin, chaired by the… Read More

Great writer = good person? Not on your Nelly.

Is there any correlation between being a great writer and being a good person? I recall reading somewhere in an interview with Borges that he seemed to think that a truly great writer was likely be a good… Read More

At Swim-Two-Birds and an absence of frantic sorrow

  My favourite novel when I was nineteen years of age and had just moved to London was At-Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien and it was with some pleasure that I dipped into an article by Colm Tóibín in… Read More

And Borges too

What makes a piece of critical writing ‘creative’? How do we distinguish between ‘creative’ and ‘critical’ writing? Does anyone care? Is the literary world divided between ‘creative’ writers and ‘critics’ or is this a fantastically outdated model? Who… Read More