Friday, July 03, 2009

Writers' desks - Bill Kirton

Here's the second entertaining entry in my series of writers' desks, this week from crime writer Bill Kirton:


"I use a double desk arrangement, one for the computer, one for the rest. It means twice the area to put things down with the good intention of tidying them up later. But, like others of a messy persuasion, I really do know where everything is. It’s also very much who I am. I hope I don’t mean a total wreck, but rather it’s the place where there’s just me and my characters and my words. No need to make any of the compromises that are necessary in normal social interactions. I can just sit there as an observer and record the goings-on.

The room’s in the basement of our house and I look out on a lush corner of the garden. Standing among the grasses and shrubs is a carving of an eagle I did at a class I started attending in order to find out what it felt like to carve a figurehead. That was research for my historical novel The Figurehead but I liked it so much that I still make things.

On the desks (and floor) apart from work-related bits and pieces, I have family photos and strange little things I’ve picked up at conferences and the like, such as a wee armchair for my mobile to sit in, or a long spring with a dog’s head at one end and a tail at the other in which I stick letters and things – my in-tray, if you like.

On one wall, there’s a huge poster for the film Germinal – a great book and a reminder of how nasty the gap between the haves and the have-nots is and always was.

In brief, though, and with no pretentiousness intended, the desks are like those magic mirrors and things – places you walk through to enter other worlds."


Bill was a university lecturer but took early retirement to write full-time. His crime novels have been published in the UK and the USA. He also writes short stories, sketches, songs, and stage and radio plays, but earns his living writing commercial scripts and documents.

His website and blog are at:


Merry said...

That looks like such a professional set-up! I will share my desk at some point, but I'll have to tidy it a bit more as I'm embarrassed now!

Bill Kirton said...

Strange, Merry. Now that you've said that, I've looked again at the picture and it does look relatively organised. And yet here I am, sitting in the middle of it all and it looks chaotic. Don't be embarrassed, we're allowed to be eccentric or even slobs.

fiona glass said...

My desk goes through tidy phases (when I'm not working) and desperately untidy phases (when I am). Definitely eccentric. ;) But that's the fun of doing something like this...