About Art Of Conversation
The digital world has offered us many wonderful things, but digital life can often feel thin, lacking the depth and quality experienced by losing yourself in a good book, or talking with friends about your favourite movies. This shallowness comes largely from the ephemeral nature of internet culture, which offers (to quote Bo Burnham) “anything and everything, all of the time”.
There is a route through this digital landscape that runs between apathetic consumption and a luddite rejection of technology. Art Of Conversation is an online project to engage deeply with culture, rejecting the idea that audiences are mere consumers and that escapism is all books and cinema are good for. At Art Of Conversation, we are cultivating an appreciation of culture that is not narrow, and that understands that the best things in life are not quickly nor easily obtained.
Here, we will introduce literature and cinema to philosophy and science, blend pop culture and high culture, and mix the contemporary with the classics. Expect Kafka's Metamorphosis to meet the Marvel movies, metaphysics to influence metal music, and Nabokov to explain Netflix.
There are two types of thing you will read on Art Of Conversation:
Essays that take deep-dives into culture, examining everything from living and dying well to the danger of facts without values, through the lens of cinema and books. I’ve written about how Moonrise Kingdom can teach us about growing up, why Lost in Translation ends with a mystery, and how reading brings us closer to others.
And then there’s Marginalia, a round-up of my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading, films I’ve been watching, and occasionally albums, podcasts, and more. These are more like traditional reviews, though I lean away from reductive “thumbs up or down” assessments in favour of looking at what works, what doesn’t, and why it matters.
I grew up in Canada and England, then spent most of my twenties working as a bookseller. In between shelving books and arguing about whether du Maurier belongs under “D” or “M”, I read a lot as a way of learning how to write well.
Now, I'm slowly exploring the world and (much less slowly) working on a novel. Having lived in Mexico, I am currently writing from the UK and making my way around Europe.
This brief Q&A I did for Fairlight Books best and most concisely conveys who I am:
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: The Hobbit, read to me by my dad. I still hear it in his voice when I read it today.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger – I’ve read it five or six times, sometimes to work out how she does it, sometimes for the pure joy, every time to challenge myself to write a better book. I haven’t yet.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote?
A: ‘In quoting others, we cite ourselves.’ — Julio Cortázar
"What's Yours Is Mine"
First published by Fairlight Books
First published by Cracked Eye
"Satchmo on the Sound System"
First published by Cracked Eye
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