We have a brand new series on the blog this year – we’re calling it ‘Write Here’. The series will take us into our authors’ writing spaces across the globe, where they’ll tell us about how they go about their craft; we’ll mark each location on the map at the bottom of each post. To start us off, we travel to Belfast, Ireland, where Ian Sansom writes the County Guides books…
‘All of my books have been written nowhere in particular, in transit, between jobs, and either very late at night or early in the morning.
My first book, The Truth About Babies, was written while traveling with a baby in a pushchair on buses and on the Central Line.
My first novel Ring Road was written in bed and in the kitchen, sometime in the hours between 10pm and 6am.
The Mobile Library series of novels were mostly written in Bangor Public Library, Bangor, Co. Down (late night opening Thursdays).
Paper: An Elegy was written on the 08.37 to Belfast, and on the 16.36 return.
The Norfolk Mystery was written in the basement of a B&B in Coventry.
But my new novel! My new novel, Death in Devon, was written in an actual office – or at least a storeroom serving as an office. The room is above No Alibis Bookshop, at 83 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, a couple of doors down from the Mexican takeaway and opposite Costcutter. Unable to find the time or the peace and quiet at home to be able to write, I asked my friend David – who owns the shop – if he might let me use his storeroom. He agreed. I now rather fancy myself as Nick Cave. A proper office writer.
The room is and was an absolute mess – it’s a bookshop storeroom. Strip lights. Peeling wallpaper. A thin grey filthy carpet. Cracks in the wall that are large enough to keep your pencils in. I love it.
It took me and my sons a day to clear the room of boxes of returns and overstock but now I have an old Black and Decker workbench as a desk and I’m allowed to use the toilet downstairs when the shop is open. Pure luxury.’
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