Mammoth Books presents Featherweight
By Robert Shearman
I don't like writing at home much," admits Shearman. "Home is a place for sleeping and eating and watching afternoon game shows on TV. There are too many distractions. So, years ago, I decided I'd only write first drafts in art galleries.
"And the best of them all is the National Gallery, in London, a pigeon's throw from Nelson's Column. I can walk around there with my notebook, thinking up stories - and if I get bored, there are lots of expensive pictures to look at. Perfect.
"A lot of those paintings, however, have angels in them. They're all over the place, wings raised, halos gleaming - perching on clouds, blowing trumpets, hovering around the Virgin Mary as if they're her strange naked childlike bodyguards. And I began to notice. That, whenever the writing is going well, the angels seemed happy, and would smile at me. And whenever the words weren't coming out right, when I felt sluggish, when I thought I'd rather take off and get myself a beer, they'd start to glare.
"I wrote this story in the National Gallery. Accompanied by a lot of glaring angels. Enjoy.
Robert Shearman is an award-winning writer for stage, television and radio. He was resident playwright at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, and regular writer for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. He is the winner of the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, the Sophie Winter Memorial Trust Award and the Guinness Award for Ingenuity in association with the Royal National Theatre. Many of his plays are collected in Caustic Comedies, published by Big Finish Productions.
For BBC Radio he is a regular contributor to the Afternoon Play slot, produced by Martin Jarvis, and his series The Chain Gang has won two Sony Awards. However, he is probably best known for his work on Doctor Who, bringing the Daleks back to the screen in the BAFTA-winning first series of the revival in an episode nominated for a Hugo Award.
Shearman's first collection of short stories, Tiny Deaths, was published by Comma Press in 2007. It won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, and was also short-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and nominated for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize. One of the stories from it was selected by the National Library Board of Singapore as part of the annual Read! Singapore campaign.
His second collection, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, published by Big Finish, won the British Fantasy Award and the Edge Hill Readers' Prize, and was joint winner of the Shirley Jackson Award. The story that follows also appears in his third collection, Everyone's Just So So Special, again published by Big Finish.
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- Publication date:
26 Jul 2012
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