Sunday 4 February 2024

An evening with Melissa McCarthy and C. D. Rose

You can watch a recording of this online gathering here:

Passcode: .F4Q6T^x

Sunday 11th February at 7pm UK time

Join us for an hour in the company of two of the very best contemporary authors who (it turns out) share a particular interest. You'll get an exclusive Zoom link at 6pm UK time. Please leave your email address at the foot of this blog if you're not already on the guest list and you'd like to join us.

Melissa McCarthy's latest book is Photo, Phyto, Proto, Nitro,  a collection of essays published by Sagging Meniscus Press)

    Photo: to do with light. 

    Phyto: plants and flowers. 

    Proto: the first, the original. 

    Nitro: it blows up.

From Troy to Hiroshima, Crimea to the nuclear Nevada desert, we make our tracks over the war-scratched globe, and when we reach a ruin or a destination we read the markings, record them using various forms of photography. Later—or much, much later—someone else in turn will try to understand our silvery traces. These are the threads that Melissa McCarthy follows, unpicks, weaves again into a nexus of light and time: the mirrored silver cells of a shark’s eyeball, sunlight glinting off the foam and sea wrack of the Aegean on flower with corpses, the silver salts of photographic paper, silver grave-treasures at Ur.

Like an archaeologist in her own strange literary landscape, McCarthy cuts through layers of history and technology to realign the dead and their images. She examines both what can be photographed and what remains always just beyond the frame, and photography itself. It’s a practice involving chemicals and the action of light. But it’s also an organising principle for literature and beyond: there are marks made—by us, on us—that we can’t yet fully see or understand, though they push on through to the surface, always re-blooming.


C. D. Rose's new novel is Walter Benjamin Stares at the Sea, published by Melville House.

Welcome to the fictional universe of C. D. Rose, whose stories seem to be set in some unidentifiable but vaguely Mitteleuropean nation, and likewise have an uncanny sense of timelessness—the time could be some cobblestoned Victorian past era, or the present, or even the future. In these 15 dreamlike tales, you’ll meet a forgotten composer who enters a nostalgic dream-world while marking time in a decaying Romanian seaport; two Russian brothers, one blind and one deaf, building an intricate model town during an interminable train ride across the steppe; a journalist whose interview with an artist turns into a dizzying roundelay of memory and image. Ghosts of the past mingle with the quiddities of modernity in a bewitching stew where lost masterpieces surface with translations in an invisible language; where image and photograph become mystically entwined, and where the very nature of reality takes on a shimmering sense of possibility and illusion.

C. D. Rose is an award-winning short-story writer, and the author of the novels The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure and Who’s Who When Everyone Is Someone Else, as well as the story collection The Blind Accordionist. He lives in Hebden Bridge.

A book that belongs on the same shelf as Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and several works by Zoran Zivkovic, Stanislaw Lem and David Markson.” — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

A collection of entrancing literary fables from an underrated master of the form.


  1. Hello, I'd love to join! My email is lucycarolan [at] gmail [dot] com
    Many thanks!

    1. Thanks for your interest Lucy. You're now on the guest list and I've emailed details.