Haiku Interview


I was recently interviewed about my poetry collection, Fractures, and you can read all about it here. Also newly up is the second chapter in my The Only Gaijin in the Village column, which you can read here. How great is the art Justine Wong did for the column?

Hope all is perfect in your world. It’s pretty hectic here but all in the best possible taste.

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Japanese Settings, International Themes


Looking for a good book? The second in my new series of articles looking at Japanese literature focuses on novels set in the country but written by non-Japanese writers. Featuring famous names like David Mitchell, Kazuo Ishiguro and David Peace, and lesser-known but equally talented authors Jackie Copleton, Nicholas Hogg and J. David Simons, there’s a lot of good reading in there.

Also newly up is my review of Michael J. Green’s By More than Providence, and exploration of US diplomacy in Asia-Pacific.

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Fractures Review, Northwords Now


I was delighted to see this review of Fractures in this weekend’s Japan Times. Copies are still available through the Tapsalteerie website, so if you haven’t got your yet, get on it!

I’ve also got a short story, Leftovers, in the new issue of Northwords Now which is free to pick up if you’re in Scotland or you can read it online here.

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The Only Gaijin in the Village

Watercolor landscape

Another update. It’s all go here at the moment as I close down the business I’ve been running for nearly eight years and take up a university teaching post, but I’ve found time for some reviews and to start a new column, The Only Gaijin in the Village, about moving to rural Japan. The picture above is taken from the website.

In the Japan Times I’ve looked at a biography of the poet Teika, the classic Kappa by Akutagawa and the first in a new crime series, Blue Light Yokohama.

Issue 7 of Shoreline of Infinity is also out now, for all your science fiction needs. As Article 50 is triggered, perhaps it’s time to escape to another planet.

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Adventures in Criticism


Another update post. I’ve been busy on the journalism and criticism front recently (a side-effect of publishers front-loading spring releases).

In the Japan Times I’ve reviewed Japanese classics A Dark Night’s Passing by Naoya Shiga and The River Ki by Sawako Ariyoshi, as well as the newly released and utterly stunning Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

On Shoreline of Infinity, as we gear up for the release of Issue 7, I’ve been looking at The Dancer by Rab Ferguson, The Speckled God by Marc Joan and The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

I’ve also recently been taken on as a columnist for Gaijinpot, an English language website in Japan. I will be writing two columns, each monthly. The first is about Japanese literature  and I intend it to be more of an overview than my Japan Times reviews, aimed at putting books and writers in context and helping those new to Japanese literature seek out new reading material. The first one introduces 8 Contemporary Novelists (That Aren’t Haruki Murakami). More about the second column when it goes live.


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Inspiration Point


Launched today, Inspiration Point is a “place for young people interested in the arts in the North-east of Scotland to find out more about the creative pathways available to them within their local area and beyond.”

It looks like a great resource, the kind of thing I wish had been around when I was growing up in Aberdeen, so if you are, or someone you know is interested in creative writing, dance, music, drama, photography, or visual arts and design, then this website is packed with advice, tips, contacts, information on courses and workshops, funding and outlets and loads more. It’s aimed at the North-east but there is much that is relevant regardless of your location.

They have a workshop event at the Lemon Tree on Saturday February 18th if you’re in the area. I wish I still was, Aberdeen seems to be such a vibrant, artistic place at the moment. Please share this website around your social media so the young artists of the North-east can get all the help they want and follow their dreams. Thanks.

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Reviews:Yukio Mishima,Takeshi Kaiko, Ko Unoki and Hannu Rajaniemi.



Just a quick update on reviews I’ve been writing, the from the Japan Times and one from Shoreline of Infinity. Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves is not his best book but is one of his most popular, certainly with filmmakers. Takeshi Kaiko turned his experiences as a journalist covering the Vietnam War into a wonderful Graham Greene-esque novel and Ko Unoki delivers mixed results in his overview of Japan-US relations through history. Hannu Rajaniemi’s short story collection Invisible Planets is a thoughtful and exciting book, well worth checking out.

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