Nonfiction is defined by what it is not, rather than what it is. Fiction is not called “nonfact.” Is this because we regard fiction as the essence, or ideal, of literature? Does it resonate more with us because we innately understand it as more “real” than “true stories”?
The latest books from Dockyard Press are published, and they’re all very different from one another, even though two are by the same author...
There’s Belfast author Gerard Brennan’s second Shannon McNulty crime novel, Drag. And there’s a reissue of his first novel, Fireproof, a unique hybrid of urban fantasy and crime thriller.
And there’s Poetry: Not Optional, a meditative memoir in verse by American poet and mystic Lisa MoonCat, charting her journey from childhood to adulthood and beyond.
The ebooks are available direct from Dockyard Press and all the usual outlets except for Amazon, and the paperbacks from all good bookshops… and the bad one, Amazon, because we can’t stop them. Please don’t buy them there.
If Lacan is correct that the I which speaks and the I which is spoken of are not the same — and “I” think he is — then writing in the first person is the same as writing in the third. Or, put another way, writing in the third person is a mask worn to hide that it comes from the first.
My friend Gerry Loose describes himself as “a slow-moving nomad.” He is a trained ecologist, and a Zen Buddhist who has also practiced Tibetan Buddhism, and, for three decades now, one of Scotland’s most admired poets. His latest book, The Unfinished Hut, is his first book of prose rather than poetry — but the prose is also poetry. Somewhere between Matsuo Basho’s Oku no hosomichi and Kamo no Chomei’s Hojoki, it is a journal of hermitage, friendship, death, deep ecology and contemplative practice. Covering 20 years, it is 65 pages long, with plenty of white space, but it is not a small book, and may be his best so far.
In the end, it took a fellow Celt and crime writer to fully get behind DS McNulty, as Brennan explains.
“Barry Graham is a very interesting character,” he tells me of the Dockyard Press founder, who set up the imprint to be run by all of its published writers, helping them to retain creative control over their work.
“He's a Buddhist monk but he's also a noir writer from Glasgow. I met him in 2018 when he was telling me about this idea he had for setting up a new publisher who was going to do things their own way by thumbing their nose at Amazon.
“Basically, [Dockyard] won't make their books available in Kindle form until Amazon start treating their workers better. I thought that was kind of fun…”