Mark Bicton

Mark Bicton

Mark Bicton is interested in environmental change and how we respond. His stories explore dis/connects of culture, nature and our sense of place, past and future.

He has been writing stories as a form of exploration for some years. He completed an MFA in Creative Writing, receiving a Distinction for a set of stories on themes of ‘rewilding’ and ‘sense of place’.


Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?

A: Although I wouldn’t single out any one of them, like most children the earliest stories I had read to me were fairytales and stories where the natural world featured large and powerfully – as it does still in my imagination.


Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)

A: Although I don’t much like opera and don’t know Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, I was very struck by artist Maggi Hambling’s wonderful sculpture ‘Scallop’ on Aldeburgh beach – a tribute to Britten – which includes the line ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’. I discovered this was from Peter Grimes and found the passage it comes from:

‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned

Calling, there is no stone

In earth’s thickness to make a home

That you can build with and remain alone.’

That single line, cut into a metal sculpture right on the eroding shingle shore, has a particular power for me – and the longer passage has a quite different one. I like the fact that Britten based his opera on a long nineteenth-century poem – ‘The Borough’, by George Crabbe. Although the poem doesn’t contain those words, clearly something has moved from poem to opera to sculpture, then to the photographs I took on that beach, and on into my own writing since.


Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?

A: The ability to read and absorb all the stories and other literature ever produced all over the world, from the very start to right now, and to keep going.