Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Douglas Bruton

UPDATE: On Tuesday 13th February Kickstarter selected us as a “Project We Love” and we went over £1,000 in funding! That’s 15% in less than 5 days. Exciting times. You can now find us in Publishing > New & Noteworthy.

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.

Douglas Bruton is a teacher in a high school in Scotland. He hopes he is a teacher that the children will talk about fondly when they are grown up and remembering. He writes, too, because he has stories in his head. Sometimes his stories have something to say, about life and love and universal compassion – and those are his best stories.
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He has been published in many nice places and by good people including Brittle Star Magazine, The Irish Literary Review and Fiction Attic Press and Freight Books. 

[Knight Errant Press]: Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around

[Douglas]: Gender identity is something I cover in classroom discussions at the school where I teach. I am no expert, but I try to cover the topic with an openness and an honesty.

[KEP]: Has exploring gender affected your worldview and your writing and reading habits?

[D]: The subject has not affected my worldview – I approach everything in life with a need to understand and a desire to live in peace and love and with a universal compassion – yes I am that 70’s hippy.

[KEP]: Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[D]: Fell in love with books when I was 11, Stig of The Dump and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Borrowers… but no one book turned me into a writer. The late and great British film producer, David Lean, in a TV interview once said that he had no great message to impart in his films; he just told stories. I think this may have been a bit disingenuous, but it turned me into a writer… I had been sitting around for years waiting for something important to say and this gave me permission to just tell stories. However, I hope that my stories embody a universal compassion and if there is a message in anything I write it is this.

[KEP]: What author or book do you think is most underrated? And why? (Prime time for some reading recommendations.)

[D]: The Passion by Jeanette Winterson. I think it is an incredible and magical read. It would be in my top ten… and I rarely hear people talking about it. I also want to yell from the rooftop that everyone who writes and takes writing seriously should read George Saunders’ short story ‘Escape From Spiderhead’… it is absolutely stunning and perfect. It appears in his collection Tenth of December. Go read it now!

[KEP]: Is there any book, written by someone else, that you wish you’d written? Would you change it, if yes – how?

[D]: The Coward’s Tale by Vanessa Gebbie – deserves to be more widely read. I’d change the title, which I do not think serves the book well and would not tempt me to pick it up. Also, the author chooses to bookend the novel with one story, teling half of it at the start and returning to it at the end of the novel to finish the story. In principle this is a neat idea… but the story (which is incredible and wonderful) loses some of it’s power by being split in this way in my opinion.

[KEP]: What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?/play you haven’t seen?/album you haven’t listened to?/film and TV series you haven’t watched?

[D]: It’s a bit of a bad joke now, having been an English teacher for many years, but I have not read Orwell’s 1984. I was saving it for that year, but 1984 must have been a very busy year for me because it just passed me by… and then it was like history! I know I should read it… maybe when I retire.

[KEP]: Do you ever feel like you have book FOMO (fear of missing out) because of a famous title you haven’t had the chance to read, if so, which one?

[D]: Not really. I have hundreds of unread books piled up on shelves and on my bedroom floor. I used to worry that one day I’d die without having read them all or that I’d die in the middle of a book and never know the ending. I used to finish every book I started reading even if I was not enjoying it. Now I am less anxious about the books I have not read… a little more anxious about dying though.

[KEP]: Tea or coffee?

[D]: Tea. Can’t even eat coffee flavoured chocolates. I know, my loss… but I just can’t.

[KEP]: Early morning or late into the night?

[D]: Late into the night – especially if I’m not working the next day.

[KEP]: Digital or analogue?

[D]: Analogue watch, digital alarm clock. Go figure!


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