Andrew Cowan is the author of five novels, including Pig and, most recently, Worthless Men (both published by Sceptre), and the guidebook The Art of Writing Fiction. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.
Extract from Your Fault, a novel-in-progress: ‘How closely yours will come to resemble the ideal family of that time: father, mother, their two children (though not a dog; not yet a little dog). The father is some years older and some inches taller than his wife, who is so pretty. Their son is a few years older and a few inches taller than his sister. The boy dresses in shorts; the girl wears a short dress. The ribbon in the girl’s hair matches the pattern in her mother’s headscarf. The boy’s haircut matches his father’s, a short back and sides, parted on the left.
Here you are in the adverts you see on the television, and here in the schoolbooks with which you are still learning to read: Janet and John.
This is Janet.
This is John.
Janet is the favoured one.
John must not put a foot wrong. ‘
Lynne Bryan is the author of a short story collection, Envy At The Cheese Handout (published by Faber & Faber), and the novels Gorgeous and Like Rabbits (Sceptre). She’s convenor of the UEA/AQA summer school for teachers who teach creative writing, and is co-organiser of Words And Women (www.wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk) which supports and promotes women writers in the East of England.
Extract from Cost, a novel-in-progress: ‘He wriggled his way next to her as they sang power to the sisters must mean power to the class. He could smell her, not her perfume but her. It was bitterly cold and yet she was sweating. She smelt of mud and sex. He found it thrilling. Her hair was piled high to show off her earrings. Dangly. Silver and blue. There was a spot on her neck. There was something grubby about her. Her grubby pretty face.’