Over at The Book Depository Mark Thwaite has been interviewing Nicholas Murray about his next book, So Spirited A Town: Visions and Versions of Liverpool. In the Capital of Culture year there are going to be a lot of new books about Liverpool (I’m guilty as charged) the best of which will avoid what Murray calls ‘Merseycliche’ and give real insight into this rather wonderful city:
Mark Thwaite: What gave you the idea for So Spirited A Town?
Nicholas Murray: It was a combination of wanting to write something about my childhood and adolescence in Liverpool and wanting to give some sense of the city in which I grew up from a literary point of view. The book, when it is not about me, is about all the writers who have left their impressions of Liverpool and the number is surprisingly large. Some of the names are unpredictable too: Kazantzakis, Capek, Primo Levi, etc. Obviously the designation as Capital of Culture helped to galvanise things. It was a fairly obvious kind of opportunism. The idea had been gestating for a long time but now seemed like a good time to secure a publisher’s interest. I also thought that the eyes of the world would be on Liverpool and people might be searching for something a bit different from the usual Merseycliche. I must also say that I had reviewed several years ago in the TLS Gladys Mary Coles’ anthology of Liverpool writing, Both Sides of the River. Although she wasn’t interested in a lot of the writers I discuss it was an excellent anthology and really gave me the idea of exploring further.