The Salt Path | Book Review

The Salt Path

Raynor Winn

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143134114

£7.99

‘Something in me was changing season too. I was no longer striving, fighting to change the unchangeable, not clenching in anxiety at the life we’d been unable to hold on to, or angry at an authoritarian system too bureaucratic to see the truth. A new season had crept into me, a softer season of acceptance. Burnt in by the sun, driven in by the storms. I could feel the sky, the earth, the water and revel in being part of the elements without a chasm of pain opening at the thought of the loss of our place within it all. I was a part of the whole. I didn’t need to own a patch of land to make that so. I could stand in the wind and I was the wind, the rain, the sea; it was all me, and I was nothing within it. The core of me wasn’t lost. Translucent, elusive, but there and growing stronger with every headland.

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Best Microfiction 2021 | Writing

Back in December I was delighted when FlashBack Fiction nominated my ship wrecker tale ‘Foundering‘ for inclusion in the Best Microfiction 2021 anthology. I thought little more about it, but woke up a couple of days ago to a Twitter notification saying that I had made the cut!

Best Microfiction have published an anthology since 2019 and ‘provides recognition for outstanding literary stories of 400 words or fewer’. It’s always nice to be published, but to have my piece put forwards by a publisher and then in turn selected by editor Amber Sparks was particularly so. I’ll be looking forward to it being published and really proud when it is.


Matthew Richardson is a writer of short stories. His work has featured in Gold Dust magazine, Literally Stories, Near to the Knuckle, McStorytellers, Penny Shorts, Soft Cartel, Whatever Keeps the Lights On, Flashback Fiction, Cafelit, and Shooter magazine. He is a doctoral student at the University of Dundee, a lucky husband, and a proud father.

Not necessarily in that order.

Things I had to Research in 2020 | Blogging

I had a great deal of fun at the end of 2019 when I reviewed all of the research I’d had to carry out for my short stories throughout the year. Thorough inquiry is no guarantee of a good narrative (my wife, an excellent editor, has put several exhaustively researched but poorly written stories out of their misery), it is an end in itself.

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2020: Reflection

As a subdued Hogmanay draws to a close here in Scotland I thought I’d drop a line to say thanks to all my friends here on WordPress (I can’t abide the term ‘followers’ – there’s something far too messianic about the implied relationship!). I’m fortunate enough that after two and a half years of blogging my short stories and updates on the progress of my doctorate, I’ve met and engaged with some wonderful writers.

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The Western Wind | Book Review

The Western Wind

Samantha Harvey

Grove Press

ISBN: 9780802147721

£8.99

‘“Man is a foul thing, little and poor, a stinking slime, and after that a sackful of dung and, at the last, meat to the worms. In his final hour he lies with a shooting head and rattling lungs and gaping mouth and veins beating, his fingers cooling, his back aching, his breath thinning and death coming. His teeth grin grimly in a bony head, maggots make breakfast of his eyes. Man is weak and fruitless, a clothed cadaver clutching at his worldly things, a skeleton that will one day clack for want of blood and flesh; a festering mound of skin and nail, and after than an unlubricated heap of bone. Is man the master of his life? Does he own the moments that make it up? No, those moments are God’s, to add to or subtract as he wills. Man is a sinner whose life speeds him day by day towards a tomb, not a master of his body but a slave to it; his red lips will turn black and his eyes will fog over and his feet will stiffen and his tongue will slacken and his ears hiss with death.”

Amen, they said, as they trailed up the nave with gifts for the dead.’

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Zenith | Short Story

The app notification took the edge off the vista, but it was nothing really. Tim shifted the vibration in his pocket to the back of his mind. It was important to stay in the moment, and what a moment it had been.

Tim had felt the seawater slapping against the wooden pier underneath his feet. He had smelled drying seaweed and salt and gritty sunscreen. The low-throttled thrum of a water-ski in the distance had mingled with the babble of his children playing in the sand, arguing softly about who was in charge of building the sandcastle. A wisp of cloud trailed across the sky, its presence only serving to illustrate the expanse of blue above it.

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Thomas Cromwell: A Life | Book Review

Thomas Cromwell: A Life

Diarmaid MacCulloch

Allen Lane

ISBN: 1846144299

£30

Review

There have been many biographies of Henry VIII’s Lord Privy Seal, but surely few so weighty or well-researched. Like many, my interest in Thomas Cromwell was catalysed by Hilary Mantel’s brilliant Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies, and the Mirror and the Light. Cromwell is atypical of Tudor dignitaries in that he was lowborn. The son of a blacksmith, he was self-made and self-educated. From these inauspicious beginnings he rose to the right hand of a capricious and unstable king. Cromwell bullied lords and dined with dignitaries. He liquidated a centuries-old religious order and ushered in political foundations that remain to this day. Not a bad biographical subject.

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