Nick Harkaway

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Nick Harkaway

Goodreads Author

in Truro, The United Kingdom


William Gibson, Georges Simenon, Anne Michaels, Anne Carson, Annie Pro ...more

Member Since
June 2008


Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall, UK in 1972. He is possessed of two explosively exciting eyebrows, which exert an almost hypnotic attraction over small children, dogs, and - thankfully - one ludicrously attractive human rights lawyer, to whom he is married.

He likes: oceans, mountains, lakes, valleys, and those little pigs made of marzipan they have in Switzerland at new year.

He does not like: bivalves. You just can't trust them.


Nick Harkaway is currently not accepting new questions.

Popular Answered Questions

Nick Harkaway ARGH! There's no such thing. Seriously: THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. You know what there is? There's a bunch of problems, creative and otherwise, that …moreARGH! There's no such thing. Seriously: THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. You know what there is? There's a bunch of problems, creative and otherwise, that can stop you writing. They are not block. They are important skills. For example: very often, around the middle of a book, I grind to a halt. I can go no further, everything I write is catastrophically stupid. I tend to get very upset about that, and I'm unmentionably annoying to be around for a few days. My wife generally has to remind me how to fix the problem.

The way you fix it is you go back to the beginning and you get rid of all the junk, broken stuff you put in back before you understood what the hell the book was actually about, the stuff that is now preventing you from doing the really amazing things that will make the book special. You have to re-envision the whole thing, understand what you meant but could not at the time express. Sometimes that means cutting heavily, sometimes it means changing great swathes, sometimes it's a question of reading that crucial passage that carries your book in potential and taping it up over your desk.

Calling that moment "writer's block" is slandering yourself. It's not a block, it's the process. Don't demonise it! Beg for it! It's what stops you from writing lousy prose, saggy plots, unsatisfying endings. LOVE YOUR CRITICAL FACULTY.

Alternatively: at any time in the course of a book, I may find I cannot write it, bash away at it, hate myself, and then realise it's because I haven't done my chores. I haven't paid the credit card bill or whatever.

Understand: your ability to write is bound up with who you are and with your moods. It is tied to whether you are happy, sad, tense, relaxed, blah. It is you. So when something is wrong with your inkflow, that means either that you've goofed creatively or that you're not fixing something broken elsewhere in your world.

Love your mutant power. Do not try to force it to do something. Learn to listen.(less)
Nick Harkaway Weeeeellllll, I get ideas the way you get hit by raindrops if you go outside in a storm. Some of them are good and if I'm lucky they collide with othe…moreWeeeeellllll, I get ideas the way you get hit by raindrops if you go outside in a storm. Some of them are good and if I'm lucky they collide with other ideas and then I have a story. Some of them are awful. Really, really awful. I sit bolt upright in bed and shout something about how I'm a genius and I write it all down and I wake in the morning to a note about how bananas are going to kill the King of Silesia and take over the world, and only a trained monkey called Newton, armed with a grocer's apron wrapped around the skull of a dead saint, can possibly save us. And I look at that and I have to admit that while it possesses the virtue of originality it is clearly crap.

But every so often ideas collide and produce something exciting, and then it's not a question of persuading myself to write, but of budgeting time to do other things like eat.

Where ideas come from... I think that's about taking the brakes off your mind. We're all trained as kids to stop thinking the ridiculous things and be sensible, and writing is about recapturing the possibility that there are invisible mousemonsters that sneak onto buses and chew the furniture and they are kept in line by a young woman with a magic accordion. It's about permitting yourself to touch the weird in search of the amazing.(less)
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More books by Nick Harkaway…


My new book, Tigerman, is coming out on May 22nd in the UK, June 2nd in Australia and July 29th in the US.

(Sorry, Americans: I do try, every time, to get them all sync'd, but the publishing industry doesn't take to it.)

I'm doing a bunch of publicity stuff around it and of course I'll be at some festivals this year - Hay and Edinburgh to name the two big'uns - and I'll be at the Literary Death Matc Read more of this blog post »
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Published on May 08, 2014 06:33 Tags: literary-fiction, new-book, novel, superhero, thriller, tigerman

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On a radioactive island a middle-aged British sergeant becomes a crime-fighting superhero in Tigerman, a genre-bending adventure from the author of...
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Nick’s Recent Updates

“I love you forever. I am sorry I cannot love you now.”
Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker

“People don't want children to know what they need to know. They want their kids to know what they ought to need to know. If you're a teacher you're in a constant battle with mildly deluded adults who think the world will get better if you imagine it is better. You want to teach about sex? Fine, but only when they're old enough to do it. You want to talk politics? Sure, but nothing modern. Religion? So long as you don't actually think about it. Otherwise some furious mob will come to your house and burn you for a witch.”
Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

“I have known heaven, and now I am in hell, and there are mimes.”
Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World
tags: mimes



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“A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population or significance, sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until--"My God," says a second man, "I must be dreaming, I thought I saw a unicorn." At which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience... "Look, look!" recites the crowd. "A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer.”
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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