John Burnside: A Political Animal

Category: Reading

John Burnside, author of Glister, Book Talk's Book of the Month for December, spoke to us about the ideas behind the novel, ambiguous endings and the inspiration he takes from Moby Dick author Herman Melville. You can read the interview here, and a fuller audio version will be available online later in the month. 

A Scottish poet and novelist, born in Dunfermline in 1955, he is an ex-software engineer, and a prolific and award-winning writer.  Since his first collection of poetry, The Hoop, came out in 1988 he has published a staggering number of written works.  As well as The Hoop, his award winning poetry collections include Feast Days, The Asylum Dance, and Black Cat Bone, which was awarded the Forward Poetry Prize for best poetry collection of 2011.  His novels include The Dumb House, The Devil’s Footprints, Glister – November’s Book Talk read – and A Summer of Drowning, which came out this year. In addition to poetry and novels he has published two memoirs, A Lie About My Father and Waking Up in Toytown, also published in 2011. It was recently announced that his novel A Summer of Drowning was nominated for the Costa Book Awards.  John Burnside is a professor at the University of St Andrews and currently resides in Fife with his family.

You can listen to the discussion podcast on Glister here.