ONE is published in the UK on April 2. To celebrate this, we’ve set up a couple of competitions.

The winner of the first will snaffle the following:

  • A bound proof of ONE, signed by the author
  • A signed hardback copy of THE UNBLEMISHED (rare)

To enter, answer the following question:

The same character has appeared in each of Conrad’s four novels. His first appearance was in a short story. What is his name?

Email answers to along with your name and address.

In our second competition, a prize will be awarded to the person who can submit a shot of him or herself reading a CW novel or novella in an exotic location. The sender of the best picture wins:

  • A (very rare) signed proof copy of Conrad’s novella GAME
  • A signed copy of HEAD INJURIES, Conrad’s first novel

Entries to be sent to along with your name, address and the picture location.

Terms & Conditions

  • Closing date for the first competition is April 2, 2009
  • Closing date for the second (photographic) competition is September 30, 2009
  • Competitions are open to everyone over the age of 18
  • Correct entries will be placed in a hat on April 2 – the winner will be selected at random
  • Winners will be notified by email and their names posted on CW’s website
  • Allow 28 days for prizes to be delivered
  • The winner of the photograph competition will allow his/her entry to be posted on CW’s website (copyright remains with the photographer)
  • Conrad’s decision is final

Good luck!

Displacement Activity Number 1

I write to music… Soundtracks in the main (Hans Zimmer’s work for the Batman films goes down a treat). But also weird, ambient stuff (Paul Schütze, Stars of the Lid, Biosphere, et al). Occasionally I’ll listen to music with lyrics, but it’s difficult to write when someone’s chatting away in your ear. Apart from Elizabeth Fraser, whose voice is as close as you can get to being a musical instrument without actually putting strings on it.

I’m currently writing a story about a little girl and some big weather. I’ve been listening to the Cocteau Twins’ Lorelei a lot while I work on it. One minute and 57 seconds into the song, Elizabeth Fraser starts producing these amazing kookaburra noises. It’s no trick of the mixing deck. I saw the Cocteau Twins live at the Parr Hall, Warrington in 1994, and you can see her on The Old Grey Whistle Test (very poor quality, but still worth a view), wobbling her vocals like some human form of Dacelo novaeguineae.

Other tracks by the Twins worth investigating: Cherry-coloured Funk, Know Who You Are at Every Age, Violaine, Ivo, Fifty-Fifty Clown, Quisquose, Summerhead, Musette and Drums… whoa… I’ve just noticed they recorded a track called Kookaburra… spooky.