Nick Norton, writer of AKA: A Genealogy of the Saddle

A joy to read, Nick Norton’s wonderful book brings a headlong, associative sensibility to the literature of landscape. I wish there were more books like it.

Patrick Keiller


Writer of Only One Silver Teapot

Chuffed that this issue of Happy Hypocrite features Nick Norton, a writer who deserves to be published and read far more widelyAnguish Language‏


For recent publications see Writing & News

Writing & News


Lagoon and Mountain 

Lagoon, sloshing and grunting hotly, we proceed. On occasion I get a panorama of damp and oddly hairy hills. A rolling rope-slung range is breaking the waves, vanishing again; three heads elegantly pulling; three folded and puckered ruminating heads.

Walking Sentences: disappearing and reappearing


Paths are made by walking them. Things return by being pulled close. (A determined and optimistic game of agency: fort/da, gone/here.)

‘It is plainly the case that children repeat everything in their play that has made a powerful impression on them, and that in so doing they abreact the intensity of the experience and make themselves so to speak master of the situation.’ (Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle)

Sometimes our agency and games fail. But we repeat. Or we change the game and walk new paths through the library shelves, sidestepping the return for the detour(ne), writing new narratives and selves – autotopographies and autobibliographies – as we travel the shelves. (Heddon, 2007; Heddon & Myers, 2014)

Nick Norton


Sentence walks.

Walking the sentence.

Waking the sense.

The sense of each step: alea iacta est – the die is cast.

An aleator is a dice player; there is always a gamble in bringing a group of people, an expectation, a hope, and a process together. Will everyone play? We lay down a bet using our time, our talent, and resources. We take the next step, and one more, and one more after that. We may refer to a map, we may hold on to a thread; what is it we are betting on?

If we are hiking to the castle called Fort Da then are we throwing our time/talent/resource into an abyss?

Fort! Away – it has gone.

There is agency in the world and this game suggests I play a part in such agency.

Da! Here – haha! It is back.

Look! Fort/Da! Haha, it disappears, it reappears.

The abyss swallows all, and yet emptiness returns a fullness. The world falls into nothingness, and yet from nothingness creativity is manifest. When I set out on a walk “the place where I was” vanishes, but from this destruction there arises a new thing: the journey. And lo! The journey not only holds the end but also therein we can see the beginning. “The place where I was” has been given back to me; it is the same, and it is radically different for now it is enriched by the journey.

Nick Norton


Sensing the sentence, stepping in amongst words. Stepping stones, the stacks. The Library is sense stacked, sense packed; the Library is senseless, jarring, words stacked in teetering piles. How dare one ever gamble on the disarmingly simple action of opening a book?

Nick Norton

[All images Library Interventions: Disappearing Reappearing, 2019, Leeds Arts University. NN & Dee Heddon co-curators, artists Garry Barker, Angela Kennedy, Rose O’Grady-Strange Weather. Photgraphy by Hamish Irvine (1st & 3rd) & Catriona McAra (2nd).]


Rat Birds – short story, Fictive Dream

The pigeons have spotted me. They are corkscrewing down, spinning out from the fronts of buildings. Feeling small and dizzy, I stand still and allow this flapping cloud to descend on me. The swoosh and crack of wing, the deafening rattle of their cooing chests. I half shut my eyes, hair whipping around my face in the commotion. Birds thump onto my outspread arms and some even jab their uncertain weight onto my head before scrabbling for the food.

The Goat and the Bridge – short story, Shooter

Nick Norton in “The Goat and the Bridge” weaves an offbeat fable about a goat who resists tradition to overcome a loathsome foe.

The Bicycle Theft – short story, Bird’s Thumb

Emperor Starling – short story, Eqoque Ezine

The Court is a network of wind, a breath of dancing wing. I will not fly in The Court for my song is to be epic. The song of The Court is a thread of murmur tied to a cloud.

The Exemplar – short story, Cabinet of Heed

Dust is shaken onto the tiles…


Oct:  Zeno Press publish Mirror Learning, the Loosened Forms of Pleasure 

I collaborate with Joey Chin on a work in her exhibition (See blog for a version of  my written part of this.) Supposedly reading of a found copy of A Pilgrims Progress, Dear Farrah speculates on other possibilities.

An Awkward Heart in Storgy

June : The Bear  in The Fiction Pool

Book Launch: The Happy Hypocrite – Tolstoyevsky

April: Lush research: narrative, scripts, improvisations, mycelium connections


In the Toothpaste – short story, The Cabinet of Heed

Yet These Birds Do Fly – short story, Idle Ink

The Gates – short story, Epoque Press Ezine

The Opening – short story, Shooter

Paranoid Raptures – short story, Adjacent Pineapple

Only One Silver Teapot – short story, The Happy Hypocrite
Informed by a lineage of modern experimental and avant-garde magazines, this journal aspires to unpack the methodology of such journals, whilst providing a brand new approach to art writing. It will provide a greatly needed testing ground for new writing and research-based projects.


Edwards – short story, Here Comes Everyone (The Brutal Issue)

How Now – short story, Fictive Dream

BEEZER: Library Interventions – essay, Artists Book Year Book

The Alpha Recital – Short story, Honest Ulsterman

Tales From the Original Land – Short story, Fictive Dream


AKA: A Genealogy of the Saddle – Novella, Book Works / Hull Freedom Festival

A Discerning Confession – Short story, Honest Ulsterman

Metalanliguistica – The Periodical #19 – exhibited with related material in Embodied Language. Curator Karen Tobias-Green. Leeds Arts University

The Train – Poem in Anima #2

Mirror and Garden – Poem in Ink, Sweat, & Tears


Dear Farrah – poor pilgrim – pedestrian progress.   Are we in the cavemouth or are we rolling down the hill like Jack and Jill? Are we turning into the dark, holding aloft a feeble candle, and deciding to walk – right now – into the belly of a mountain?   Bunyan was in jail. …