Stephen Burgen grew up in Montreal before moving to London. For the past twenty years he has lived in Barcelona, where he works as a freelance journalist writing about Spain. He primarily writes for The Guardian and Observer, but has also previously written for The Times, Independent and Financial Times, among others. In between struggling to get the better of words, he cooks.
Stephen started writing in his early teens. He has published one non-fiction work, Your Mother’s Tongue (Gollancz/Orion), and a novel, Walking the Lions (Constable). He has also self-published Afterlife, a collection of short stories. He is currently seeking a publisher for a second short story collection.
‘The Jacket’ is Stephen’s first short story with Fairlight Books.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: George Eliot. I think we share the same wry sense of humour and I imagine she’d be fun over a boozy lunch. And if she can’t make it, Kurt Vonnegut for the same reasons.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: ‘We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare,
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love’ − W.B. Yeats.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I’ve read it five or six times in various translations.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: To converse with the dead. It would make loss easier to bear (perhaps).
Q: If you could teleport yourself anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why?
A: I live on the shores of the Mediterranean in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I don’t dream about escaping.
It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed, said Isaac, naked but for a pair of shorts and beautiful in the way that the young are beautiful, through the sheer fact and vitality of youth. He held a cold can of beer against his cheek. Please be careful, Sonia said. I worry about …
It took a moment for Michael to realise that it was his doorbell that was ringing. He wasn’t expecting a visitor or a parcel and it was weeks now since any flowers had been delivered. His first reaction was dread. He was too raw and fragile to deal with anything or anyone unfamiliar. He even …