In Conversation: Brian Catling with Iain Sinclair

“It is a book that catches you off guard in every way,” said Iain Sinclair of The Vorrh as he introduced the head of the Ruskin School of Art, poet novelist and sculptor, Brian Catling. Sinclair also commented that the novel “seemed to emerge from novel, but was there all along.”

img-20161116-wa0001Catling began with a reading from the novel to get “the atmosphere of it” before telling us a bit about how The Vorrh had come to be. He related his experience visiting museums as a child, and how he’d had to make up the meaning behind the artefacts because there hadn’t been descriptions. “I really believe in the power of not understanding,” he said.

When asked about the question of genre, particularly having now written what could be called a fantasy novel, he explained, “Fantasy has the same response, to me, in writing as surrealism does in art. I’m attracted to its core, but I don’t always like its manifestations.” He went on to talk about his creative process, explaining how writing fiction had allowed him to create things that wouldn’t be possible in sculpture, joking that he wished he’d known that sooner. Catling described the process as being like “things unfold, and I just observe it and write it down.”

The evening finished with a reading from the upcoming second instalment of the  trilogy, The Erstwhile, which will be published in spring of 2017.