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BOOKS

Memoirs of Stalker (Silvertail Books, 2016) is a blackly comic horror novel about an obsessive ex-boyfriend who breaks into the home of his former girlfriend and lives there for months without her knowing. Hilarity inevitably ensues.

How to be Cool (Icon Books, 2015) is a cultural guide to that most essential of qualities — a lightning introduction to the coolest people, pastimes and trends in history. Read this book, and you’re guaranteed to become at least 50% cooler.

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FEATURES

Holy bloodsuckers! Is Batman a vampire? (The Sunday Times)

Warning! Low-flying pots. Greek Easter in Corfu (The Sunday Times)

What to do if you're surrounded by ravenous wolves (The Blueprint)

How companies with strong network effects are taking over the world (European CEO)

How well do you know your stuff? Take the Cool Quiz (The Guardian)

Everything you ever wanted to know about coolness (The Irish Times)

What Donald Trump doesn't understand about irony (Slate)

Why old people are cooler than young people (The Daily Telegraph)

Gerald Laing, the artist that made a war zone go pop (Financial Times)

Fancy joining a new literary movement? The launch of the Method Writers (The Independent)

Intellectual, moi? An intro to five French thinkers (The Sunday Times)

The blight of Cultural Name Fatigue (The Independent)

"Sex with you is really a Kafkaesque experience" – unpicking the genius of Annie Hall (The Irish Times)

Why the Bad Sex Prize is still funny, and still needed, after all these years (The Sunday Times)

How to nail an intellectual name-dropper (The Daily Telegraph)

Where are the British intellectuals? (The Sunday Times)

Now let us praise bearded men (GQ)

Time to make a stand against the absurdities of copyright law (Daily Beast)

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts? Actually, no (New Statesman)

Might your ex be secretly living in your home? (The Sunday Times)

Benedict and I: My fond reminiscences of acting with Benedict Cumberbatch at Harrow (The Sunday Times)

Resoundingly quiet applause, please, for the anti-celebrities (The Sunday Times)

The song that changed rock music forever (The Sunday Times)

Mwa-ha-ha. A literary festival in Transylvania (The Spectator)

Trapped in the world's smallest country (The Independent)

There was an old man of Corfu (The Spectator)

How Corfu nearly became Scientology Central (The Spectator)

Swimming from Albania (The Guardian)

BOOK reviews

Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens by David Stuttard

The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and the Improvised Mind by Nick Chater

[Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement by Andre Spicer and Carl Sederstrom; in Literary Review]

Viking Britain: An Exploration by Thomas Williams

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

Stiff Upper Lip: Secrets, Crimes and the Schooling of a Ruling Class by Alex Renton

Round-up of graphic novels

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears by Thomas Dixon

The Great British Dream Factory: The Strange History of our National Imagination by Dominic Sandbrook

Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus by Harry Mount

Special Deluxe by Neil Young

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr

How to Be a Husband by Tim Dowling

The Baby Boom by P.J. O’Rourke

The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession by John Cornwell

Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins

The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler by Ben Urwand

The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire by Susan P. Mattern

Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers by Josh Shoemake

Island: How Islands Transform the World by J. Edward Chamberlin

Confronting the Classics by Mary Beard

The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire by Anthony Everitt

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie

Sorry! The English and their Manners by Henry Hitchings

The Redgraves: A Family Epic by Donald Spoto

The Richard Burton Diaries edited by Chris Williams

The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies and What they Did to Us by David Thomson

Once Upon A Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan by Ian Bell

Wives and Stunners by Henrietta Garnett

Gold by Chris Cleeve

The Twelve Caesars by Matthew Dennison

A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela

Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood and Invented Modern Horror by Jason Zinoman

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis

The method writers project

What do Homer, Shakespeare and Dickens have in common? They are all authors who also performed their works. This original link – the unity of writer and performer as two sides of the same creative coin — is one that has been lost in the modern era. It is this that the Method Writers project aims to restore.

PREPARATION & PERFORMANCE

Hardly a week goes by without a story appearing in the press about the extremes some fanatical actor has gone to in preparation for their latest role, whether it’s Leonardo DiCaprio consuming a hunk of raw bison liver on the set of the survival epic The Revenant, or Jared Leto playing twisted pranks on his co-stars while filming Suicide Squad. Clearly, some of these anecdotes carry the whiff of the marketing department. Yet for decades now we’ve been accustomed to the idea of serious actors employing an immersive method, as just one strand of teaching among many developed in New York Method Acting schools by the likes of Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. The question is: if it works for actors, why don't writers try a similar approach?

With this in mind, the Method Writers project adapts the techniques of Method Acting and applies them to the craft of writing. The aim is to help writers push through a creative block, to give a spur to those putting off a project, and to offer an adrenaline shot of true feeling to any work, which will help it to stand out from the crowd. There’s an old story of how Marlon Brando, to prepare for playing a paraplegic in his first Hollywood movie, The Men, spent weeks wheelchair-bound in the company of authentic paraplegics. One day, they were in a bar when a Christian evangelist came in and declared that, if they believed in God, they would be cured. Brando promptly leapt up from his wheelchair with a cry of “Hallelujah!" and began to dance a jig.

We won’t force you to dance a jig, but we do hope to get you leaping out of your chair.

LESSONS

The Method Writers are offering one-day courses in central London at a cost of £95.

The informal classes are taken either one-on-one or in small groups. All performance elements are voluntary. The only request is that the student should be willing to summarise a work in progress or proposed project in advance, so the class can be tailored to it. As an added incentive, the Method Writers are recruiting candidates for a writing week in Greece this autumn. More details posted here as available. 

Click here to see a lesson plan. To book a class, contact Thomas W. Hodgkinson by clicking here

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hodgkinson

Thomas W. Hodgkinson is the author of the novel Memoirs of a Stalker and two works of non-fiction. He has spoken about the ways he uses Method in his writing on Radio 4, and written on the subject here.

fiske-harrison

Alexander Fiske-Harrison is the author of Into the Arena and the editor of Fiesta. As well as being a confirmed Method writer, he has trained as an actor at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York.

fink

Thomas Fink, a co-founder and consultant of the Method Writers project, is the author of the bestselling Man's Book. He also founded the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences. 

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ABOUT

Thomas W. Hodgkinson has worked as Deputy Editor of Literary Review (2001-2) and Contributing Editor at The Week (2007-present). He writes book reviews for The Spectator, travel pieces for the Daily Mail, and occasional features.

In 2011 he became the first person officially to swim from Albania to Corfu. He is definitely the first person to have done it naked.

In 2013 his screenplay Memoirs of a Stalker was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival. In 2014/15 his screenplay The Magnificent Kate Morgan was nominated as a finalist or semi-finalist at the Austin Film Festival, the Sun Valley Film Festival, and the LA Comedy Festival.

In 2016 he launched the Method Writers movement, devoted to applying the techniques of Method Acting to creative writing. The idea was inspired by his own experience of writing Memoirs of a Stalker inside a cupboard at his home. 

That is his face, concealed behind this text.

CONTACT

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