Ryan Murdock

Writer, Traveller, Reader of Books

Latest stories

Paul Theroux on Orwell and Burma Sahib

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Long before George Orwell wrote Animal Farm and 1984 — and long before he was even George Orwell — Eric Blair was a nineteen year old policeman in Burma serving the British Raj. Biographies skirt over this five year period, in part due to the absence of letters and diaries, but it was the making of the writer he would become. Today’s guest set out to imagine those years in a wonderful new novel...

Mark May 25th on your calendar

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I’m doing an author talk at the Prescott Public Library next Saturday May 25th. That’s Prescott, Ontario. Not the other Prescott in Arizona. Start time is 1:30pm. I’ll speak for about 20 minutes, and will do two readings from A Sunny Place for Shady People, followed by Q&A and signing. I’ll have copies of the book available on site if you’d like to buy one (or three) directly from me. The...

Jonathan Raban: one of our greatest writers on place

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Jonathan Raban (Photo by Julia Raban) Jonathan Raban wrote about human landscapes rather than uninhabited ones, and the borderlands between what a place professes to be and what they are. An Englishman who emigrated to Seattle at the age of 47, his status as an outsider gave him a unique perspective on America as the land of perpetual self-reinvention. Many of his books involved water — from the...

James Salter: with biographer Jeffrey Meyers

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James Salter James Salter is the best American writer you’ve probably never read. He was a fighter pilot in the Korean War, flying more than 100 combat missions in an F-86 Sabre. He wrote Hollywood screenplays, one of which was made into a film starring Robert Redford. Three of his books — the novels A Sport and a Pastime and Light Years, and a memoir called Burning the Days — place him among the...

Talking Malta with Jeremy Bassetti

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Did you miss our live launch conversation for A Sunny Place for Shady People? I know the start time didn’t fit everyone’s schedule. It was 1am here in Berlin — but I’m far sharper past midnight than I am in the morning, so I didn’t mind. I spoke with Jeremy Bassetti, host of the excellent Travel Writing World podcast, about:  why I moved to a country I’d never been to the history of this...

I hope you’ll join me on Tuesday

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Tuesday April 23 is the official publication day for my new book A Sunny Place for Shady People. It’s been a long haul from first draft to finished volume. I must have rewritten it seven or eight times as the story I set out to tell morphed into the story I had to write.  I hope you’ll join me on Zoom for the online launch. I’ll be talking with Jeremy Bassetti, host of the excellent Travel...

Sherlock Holmes and the Ottoman Empire

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Andrew Finkel In the late 1800s, during the Victorian era, a moderately successful doctor in Southsea created a fictional character so compelling that people wrote letters to him asking for help. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the novel A Study in Scarlet at age 27, in less than three weeks. The book didn’t attract much interest, but he went on to write a second novel with a little nudge from Oscar...

Ryan Murdock in conversation with Caroline Muscat

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I want to give you a rare behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like being an investigative journalist in Malta after the car bomb assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  And so I reached out to my friend Caroline Muscat, founder and editor-in-chief of The Shift, the Maltese investigative news portal where I was a weekly columnist for over four years. If you’ve read my new book A Sunny Place...

A sunny place for shady people

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A Sunny Place for Shady People by Ryan Murdock My new book is now available for your reading pleasure. It’s called A Sunny Place for Shady People, and it’s about six years I spent living on the island of Malta. I went there because I wanted to write an island book inspired by Lawrence Durrell — and there was light and laughter in those early years. But then there was an election, and everything...

The Wakhan Corridor with Bill Colegrave

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Bill Colegrave The Amu Darya River forms a natural barrier between the lands of Central Asia to the north and the Afghan and Indian worlds to the south. Ancient writers called it the Oxus. It was the nucleus of Bactrian civilizations, the target of conquerors like Alexander the Great, and the destination of intrepid 19th and 20th century travelers. The exact location of the river’s source...

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