Art Kavanagh

Criticism, fiction and other writing

Miscellaneous posts that I moved from Medium

During 2017 and 2018, I posted most of what I wrote — fiction, book discussion, a series of posts about aphantasia, and miscellaneous blog-style posts — on Medium. I’m about to delete my Medium account. The first ten items shown below are ones that I posted to Medium this year (2021) when I was experimenting with using a custom domain name ( I’ve now ended that experiment and moved those posts to this site.

Posts from 2021, originally posted to

“Talk about books” again [22-Aug-2021]
Issues 14 to 20 inclusive of my book discussion newsletter.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) [31-Jul-2021]
I’ve never reread The Handmaid’s Tale, having first read it more than 30 years ago. I don’t think I was fair to it then: it’s time to give it another chance.

Don’t blame the pandemic: the arts were already in crisis [14-Jul-2021]
It wasn’t the pandemic that caused the catastrophe facing the arts. Blame big, rapacious tech companies who have been grabbing most of the loot.

Habits and habitation [10-Jul-2021]
When I moved back to Ireland after 24 years away, some important habits, including the habit of voting in elections, seemed to get lost on the journey.

A custom domain for my Substack newsletter [03-Jul-2021]
There seems to be no particular advantage in registering a custom domain name for my newsletter, Talk about books, but I decided to do it anyway.

Back on Twitter [25-Jun-2021]
Late in 2018, I deleted my then 9-year-old Twitter account. Two years later, I started from scratch.

The book review is still dying [17-Jun-2021]
We still don’t need to mourn it. But the death of the book review may be a symptom of a broader problem.

Crossdressing and self-image [14-Jun-2021]
I used to believe that my lifelong ambivalence about crossdressing resulted from shame and embarrassment. How wrong I was.

More “Talk about books” [13-May-2021]
Issues 7 to 14 inclusive of “Talk about books” newsletter.

“Talk about books” newsletter [01-Feb-2021]
The first six fortnightly issues of my newsletter, “Talk about books”.

Posts from 2017–2019, when I was regularly posting to Medium

Advertising and the future of surveillance capitalism: The position of Facebook and Google, who rely on adtech for the bulk of their revenue, seems paradoxically stable and precarious at the same time [Dec-2019; LinkedIn]

Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), poet: Three essays [18-Nov-2019]

What Colm Tóibín said about genre fiction [25-Jul-2019]

Why ebooks aren’t real books [09-Jun-2019]

Eluding the algorithm: Web discovery in the aftermath of social media [11-May-2019]

Patience is a virtue I don’t have, unfortunately [03-Mar-2019]
Comparing the diametrically opposed approaches of Kim Liao and Kristine Kathryn Rusch to publishing fiction, and finding both wanting.

On the keyboard [18-Nov-2018]
For a writer, the keyboard is the interface where the transfer takes place between your consciousness and the medium where your work is recorded in readable form. It’s the most important component of any computer you’ll ever use.

Sophie Hannah plans her novels before she starts to write [28-Oct-2018]
The supposed plotter-pantser distinction is a false dichotomy. Everybody plans, even if they just plunge into writing without a moment’s reflection.

Novelette: a suitable form for crime fiction? [24-Jun-2018]

Uncollected short stories [27-May-2018]

The truth about fiction [14-Apr-2018]

Why I’m no longer a self-published author [08-Apr-2018]

Goodreads and the self-published author [24-Mar-2018]
Goodreads may not be as welcoming an environment for the self-published author as many have assumed.

The language of Ireland [22-Jan-2017]
The belief that the Irish language is capable of being revived has survived in an in-between state for decades: too weak to be put into effect, too entrenched to be given up. It’s time we stopped wasting resources on it.