Friday, January 30, 2009

Burning Manuscripts: Tom Paulin

It’s a favourite habit of writers to become nervous about their early writings. I was reading Tom Paulin’s The Invasion Handbook the other day, a work which sent me rummaging around on google, trying to follow some of the more difficult leads. I ended up looking at a few interviews with Paulin, including this one from the Guardian in 2002, in which he alludes to an earlier trip to the incinerator:

‘By the time Paulin left school he knew he wanted to write, and when he went to Hull University to read English in 1967 it was with the express intent of later returning to Belfast for a teaching job that would allow time to write. “But I didn't get anywhere with my writing at Hull,” he explains, and describes his early unpublished work as “inchoate”. He later burnt it all. “Maybe I am not so happy about that now. It was something I did in my 20s. You go through a bad time and think ‘where am I going?’. And I thought I would just clean everything out.”’

Nicholas Wroe, The Guardian 23 March 2002

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