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New Statesman offers advice on ‘how to write about the north’


2013+48small(1)The New Statesman is promoting a special edition about the north of England by publishing a preview which advises our increasingly London-centric media on how to write about the north.

Written by writer and presenter Stuart Maconie, the piece includes tongue-in-cheek guidance which pokes fun at the way our northern towns and cities tend to be portrayed.

The publication says it was inspired by the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina’s celebrated essay How to Write About Africa which tackled perception problems of the continent in the mainstream media.

The preview piece, which you can read in full here, includes a list of northern writing genres which can be typically found such as:

Auntie’s Folly. Screed of barely concealed contempt and suspicion (usually in the Daily Mail online) on BBC relocating to Salford straplined “Bill Turnbull fears for his life every time he parks car, say friends.”

And wider guidance about approaches writers should take in tackling their subjects, including my personal favourite:

“Food and shopping in the north is, as we all know, uniformly dreadful. However, if you are a London-based restaurant critic (is there any other kind?) it will behove you occasionally to placate your paper’s advertisers by leaving NW1 for the north…….Patronise wearily.”

The full special edition is out tomorrow and also includes Philip Hensher on the region’s bright cultural life, Anthony Clavane on the history of rugby leage, Will Self on walking from London to Whitby and a special Critics section on northern arts and literature

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