Martin John by Anakana Schofield: The Irish Times Books Club Podcast

Find out why ‘it is good to make demands of the reader’, why publishers need to be braver and why ‘fiction is not Google Maps’

Anakana Schofield, left, and Laura Slattery: listen to Schofield as she explains why it was important to go inside the disturbed mind of Martin John in this hypnotic, compelling and empathetic book

Anakana Schofield, left, and Laura Slattery: listen to Schofield as she explains why it was important to go inside the disturbed mind of Martin John in this hypnotic, compelling and empathetic book

 

When Anakana Schofield started to write her second novel Martin John, she “mostly laid down and despaired”. Creating a work that revolves around mental illness, sexual assault and compulsive flashing can bring its own anxiety.

“I really don’t recommend that anyone write a novel – ever,” says Schofield. So there are no tips on how to write in this podcast, recorded at the Irish Writers Centre earlier in November. But there is still much to digest.

Discover instead why Schofield’s “intellectual brothel” will solve all her dating dilemmas, why bird flu is one of her obsessive topics and why she tends to revise her theories five times a day.

Find out why “it is good to make demands of the reader”, why publishers need to be braver, why humour is essential and why “fiction is not Google Maps”.

Learn how Bernard-Henry Lévi will very likely be the first man on Mars, beating the Martians’ no-fly list and reaching the red planet via an escalator spiking out of the Ilac Centre.

But most of all, listen to Schofield as she explains why it was important to go inside the disturbed mind of Martin John in this hypnotic, compelling and empathetic book.

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