SEPTEMBER 2022: FOYLES CHARING CROSS EVENT WITH PAUL STANBRIDGE AND SOME JOURNALISM
Last Thursday I was very lucky to host a launch event for Paul Stanbridge’s My Mind To Me A Kingdom is, recently published by Galley Beggar, at Foyles Charing Cross.
What a wonderful book it is! Part novel, part memoir, it explores the aftermath of the death of Paul’s brother, Mark, who took his life in 2015. It’s influenced by W G Sebald and David Jones’ The Anathemata, but it feels fresh and unique – cerebral, moving and strange, digressing and circling subjects such as medieval graffiti and ancient horses carved into chalk hills, but always coming back to the nature of grief. In that respect, the very structure of the book encapsulates the way grief infuses everything when you lose someone you love. It’s one of my favourite books of the year and I recommend it v much.
I have some journalism out in the coming months: an essay in the London Magazine about the history of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the various attempts to adapt it for the stage and screen, and a piece for Psyche magazine which explores kaloprosopia, bisexuality, Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie. And here’s a photo of mine (credit Andrew Gallix) taken at the Garden Cinema, a new and beautiful Arts Cinema in Covent Garden, below Marlene in a still from The Blue Angel…
JUNE 2021: PAPERBACK OF FRAGMENTS AND ANNA VAUGHT’S WRITING RETREAT
The paperback of The Fragments of my Father was published on 29 April. I met up with a friend for lunch that day. It was the first time we’d seen each other in months and the first time I’d eaten out in a long time. We got a restaurant table outdoors, chatting and shivering, until we could bear the cold no longer; then we wandered in Foyles in Charing Cross to see if I could find any copies. I discovered it on the ground floor, on a table display. Seeing your book in a bookshop is a high for any writer; seeing it on a display is euphoria. Since then, I’ve visited various London bookshops and signed copies. I’m so grateful to booksellers for their support. A few have commented on how much they like the cover, which is a photo of me aged 3 with my Dad – who also loves the cover (but admits he is a bit biased…)
At the end of 2020, Fragments was chosen as a book of the year in The New Statesman (Marina Benajmin) and The White Review (Joanna Kavenna). I was also thrilled when Fragments was shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize, which is awarded to a book which best presents ‘a life with a long-term chronic illness or disability’. This year’s winner was Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer.
I’ve had a few more reviews recently, including The Times Literary Supplement, where it was reviewed by Josephine Balfour Oatts, who praised the book – ‘Mills writes with acute emotional intelligence’.
Upcoming: very little is upcoming, since we’re all staying safe with the pandemic. Joanna Walsh and I are hoping to give a talk sometime soon at a bookshop near you, but that will depend on rules and safety and when the time is appropriate. In the meantime, I am involved in a One Day Writing Retreat with the brilliant Anna Vaught. She is the author of a number of books, including Saving Lucia (Bluemoose Books, 2020), one of my favourite novels of last year. She has set up a writing retreat online for Saturday 17th July, which will involve a day of teaching, chat and discussion, from 10 – 4.30, including advice from Anna on numerous topics including openings, plot, characterisation, editing, narrative pace and confidence. You can see the programme in full on Anna’s website here. I’m joining as a special guest in the afternoon, along with Heidi James and Michael Langan, for a half an hour slot where I will be discussing commercial v literary fiction. Heidi will be talking about risk and developing the confidence to write against the grain in your work; Michael will be discussing the rewriting/redrafting process. There will also be a Q&A at the end with agent Jonathan Ruppin. All in all, this is a feast of knowledge for writers and you can book onto the course via Eventbrite here