By David Henningham

A haunting experimental novel set on the Essex coast during the Cold War.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Unexploded History

Thank you so much for your support for Foulness earlier in the year. We are returning now from our summer break and looking forward to resuming our fundraising efforts. Entering the season the story takes place in feels like a good omen!

Personal Recommendations

To reach our target we will need to find 350 subscribers. About 150 of these probably need to be people without prior knowledge of Unbound or myself. One way you can help us is to take a moment to think if there are one or two people you know who might appreciate the book. It could be the themes, or the location, or the craft. A personal recommendation goes further than a general tweet. 


Something happened recently that reminded me why I wrote Foulness in the first place. Artist Gabriella Hirst's installation, An English Garden, was closed down (perhaps 'cancelled' is a better term) by Southend's Cllr James Moyies. The Conservative and former UKIP candidate threatened the gallery with attacks in the press, claiming it was:

"a direct far left wing attack on our History, our People and our Democratically Elected Government."    

What Hirst had actually done was to rejuvinate a species of rose christened Atom Bomb in the 1950s. The beds provided a subtle and unnerving installation that hinted at the invisibility of the nuclear threat to civilisation and beauty. A plaque drew people's attention to the creation of nuclear bombs on nearby Foulness Island (an English Heritage listed site) and their detonation in Australia. 

Nothing Gabriella Hirst said was untrue, contested or even controversial. I wonder what positive aspects of the arms race Cllr Moyies thinks she was overlooking? But if we have reached a point where stating the existence of nuclear weapons testing provokes censorship, we need more artworks that remind us of this history. I am pleased to follow in the footsteps of Gabriella Hirst's very fine installation, and it's encouraging to me that I appear to have written something that is more current than I could have suspected.   

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