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Some Comments On And Concerning John McNeillie’s Work

‘The Poacher’s Handbook is a classic essay in one of the major sub-genres in English Literature, the naturalist’s diary or handbook. Since Walton’s The Compleat Angler, it has been a form that breaks down solemn distinctions between serious and entertaining writing… As for writerly skills they are present in every paragraph: the line of every sentence is let out to the right length and tension. These are the skills, maybe, more associated with the good poet than the prose narrator… No writing, whatever its subject and however unportentous its air, can be excellent without an ethical sense. Here this is lightly carried but Ian Niall is a writer you trust from the first. This is part of the reason why…

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Andrew McNeillie

Andrew McNeillie was born in North Wales in 1946 and educated at John Bright Grammar School, Llandudno, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was Literature Editor at OUP for five years until May 2009 when Exeter Univeristy made him a Professor in their English Department, based at the university’s campus in Cornwall. This appointment centres round the magazine ARCHIPELAGO founded in 2007 and a new MA programme closely associated with it called ‘Nature, Writing and Place’. He has two new books forthcoming: a memoir Once due from Seren in May 2009, and a book of poems In Mortal Memory due from Carcanet in February 2010. His first collection of poems Nevermore (2000), in the Oxford Poets series from Carcanet, was shortlisted…

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