Work in Progress

If anyone was wondering, this is what I'm currently writing. This project grew out of a panel I spoke on at The Bradford Literature Festival in 2019... THE OPIUM EATERS: High Literature and the Art of Addiction (Morton Books) When the brilliant Oxford drop-out and freelance journalist Thomas De Quincey published his seminal article ‘Confessions of… Continue reading Work in Progress

‘A Strange Idolatry’

Extract of a piece I wrote for Wordsworth Editions just before Christmas on The Picture of Dorian Gray... In a news cycle that has just seen conservative commentators lose it over Harry Styles appearing on the cover of December’s Vogue wearing a Gucci evening dress under a tux, it feels in every way appropriate to celebrate… Continue reading ‘A Strange Idolatry’

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Extract from a contextual review for Wordsworth Editions, originally entitled ‘Based on the Writings of Henry James’: The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents and The Haunting of Bly Manor'. The Turn of the Screw has been adapted many times (it was even turned into an opera by Benjamin Britten in 1954), but it is… Continue reading The Haunting of Bly Manor

Looking for Kafka

New piece for the Wordsworth Editions blog... For an author so revered and obsessively studied, Franz Kafka remains as enigmatic as his fiction. Like Shakespeare, he is a writer about whom so much has been written that it would now be impossible to read it all in a lifetime. And any scrap of textual evidence,… Continue reading Looking for Kafka

‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Nice piece in my hometown paper, the Eastern Daily Press, by Derek James. My mum would have loved this... Norfolk author Stephen Carver is a man at the top of his game. Some say you can’t stick your arm out in the street in Norwich without knocking over a writer. Derek James talks to one… Continue reading ‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

An interview with yours truly by American author and journalist Deborah Kalb... How did you learn about W.H. Ainsworth, and at what point did you decide to write a book about him? That’s a long story. I actually came across his novel, Rookwood, as a grad student in the 90s while researching the publisher Henry… Continue reading Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

The Dance of Death: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

Recommended reading for the self isolating, taken from my latest, The Author Who Outsold Dickens As soon as the epic serial, The Tower of London concluded at the end of 1840, its author, the flamboyant ‘Lancashire Novelist’ William Harrison Ainsworth, threw an enormous celebratory party and promptly began the next serial, Old St. Paul’s, A Tale… Continue reading The Dance of Death: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

Forgotten Author Who Once Outsold the Literary Giant – Interview

What the Dickens? Sunday Post interview with yours truly about The Author Who Outsold Dickens with Sally McDonald William Harrison Ainsworth is the 19th-Century writer most of us haven’t heard of. Literary historian, editor and novelist Dr Stephen Carver tells Sally McDonald The Honest Truth about why the great man is so unknown nowadays. Why did… Continue reading Forgotten Author Who Once Outsold the Literary Giant – Interview

Man of La Manchester

It's been a long time coming, but my new biography of the 'Lancashire Novelist' William Harrison Ainsworth, The Author Who Outsold Dickens is published in hardback today from Pen & Sword Books. Here's the Prologue... On the evening of Thursday, 15 September 1881, the man they called the ‘Lancashire Novelist’ attended a mayoral banquet in his… Continue reading Man of La Manchester

G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

A new post for the G.W.M. Reynolds Society... As a child, I possessed a morbid passion for nineteenth century gothic literature. I had inherited this trait from my mother, a Catholic turned Spiritualist with a taste for true crime and horror film and fiction. My parents had me late in life and my grandparents were… Continue reading G.W.M. Reynolds & Me