It's 2019 and I've just been to the Lake District for the weekend. Grizedale Arts was throwing a dinner and
hosting a weekend of activities to celebrate 20 years of Adam Sutherland's directorship. One of the events was a guided tour of Lawson Park grounds given by Adam's partner, Karen Guthrie. (These two have vision. And they get things done.)

After the tour, Karen was kind enough to say that she felt that the book I wrote while in residence in 2001 was one of their more successful projects, so when I got back to base I re-read
The Strangled Cry of the Writer-In-Residence. I'm glad I did so. Sure, it 's funny and it was built to last. But it's also clear to me now where it sits in my oeuvre.


It was an art project, emerging from
Personal Delivery via a feature in Contemporary Visual Art (an art mag) and via the essay I wrote for Nina Pope's project A Public Auction of Private Art Works. But it was also the first of what would become series of (auto)biographical works. The book on John Ruskin was followed by a book that investigated the creative and personal lives of four Victorians: Ruskin, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw and J.M. Barrie. That Non-Sherlock Casebook remains unpublished, but the next full-length book I wrote, Looking For Enid, did find a literary publisher. And after Enid there was Evelyn. And the work on Evelyn Waugh just keeps on going, in a good way, I trust, as I dig deeper and deeper in Evelyn's back garden and back catalogue both.

It's also true that the Grizedale residency of 2001 was followed by residencies at Deveron Arts in 2007 and at Hospitalfield in 2013 that led to a book on the Victorian writer George MacDonald and
. Website on Victorian polymath, Patrick Allan Fraser, respectively.

So the Grizedale Arts commission was an important one for me. But let me put it this way:


The book can be bought directly from me (just send an email - I have a shedful of copies) or from the enlightened
shop at Grizedale Arts.