Alan Whelan



I’m currently writing “Harris in Exile”. It’s set in London in 1880, with my anti-hero Frank Harris just arrived in Britain and living amongst the anarchists, socialists and democrats who took shelter in London in the late nineteenth century. As the real Frank Harris did.

The story begins with Charles Malato, an anarchist leader of sorts, challenging Karl Marx to a duel. Both Malato and Marx are real historical figures, of course, but they never duelled, so far as I know.

I’ve written the duel, and I think it’s both ingenious and funny: both combatants obviously survive, but their behaviour is too disgraceful for either of them to want to talk about it. Which, of course, is why there’s no historical record of this duel.

But it’s got a great climax, so it shouldn’t be as early as page 60, where it is now. It feels as if the book starts with a short story about a duel, and then has to restart itself.

So I’m starting the duel plot and the broader political plot about a British faction trying to get all these people deported at the same time. That way, the duel makes the half-time climax, and closes some plot threads while others continue on.

Anyway, welcome to my blog. Mostly I’ll be talking about writing, but I’ve got a silly streak a mile wide, so that’ll probably turn up too, from time to time.


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