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For 100 days I will post a daily post. Sometimes this will be first person life writing, sometimes it won’t be. I was inspired to do this by a similar endeavour by visual artist Jonathan Freemantle. Prior to this, I wrote a daily snapshot of my day. Both things are an attempt to free my writing through the introduction of a type of constraint, when I feel I’ve freed myself sufficiently, I’ll probably change the constraint. Damon Galut said a good sentence should surprise the reader, with the reader unable to guess from the beginning how it will end, the root of the word essay, means to try; combine both these things and this is an exploration into surprise, I am trying to surprise myself and perhaps the reader. I have no idea when I begin something how it might end. I have no idea either where this Substack might end up or what it will look like in a few months. If you like consistency this isn’t likely the place for you. If you like visual art, literature, film and London, then it might be. For paid subscirbers there is a weekly post How The War Began and Other Stories, this is an exploration into the limits and potential of fable, and also early short story drafts.

It’s probably not a surprise to learn that I’m a writer. My debut novel, Ava Anna Ada, was released by White Rabbit at Orion in 2024. Compared to Nabokov’s Ada by Stuart Kelly and called every bit as gripping as it is horrifying by Ian Rankin, it was a BBC debut to watch and New Scientist best science fiction. In January 2024 The Scotsman named me an artist to watch. My first book, a memoir, The Last Days, was released to widespread critical acclaim in 2022 by Penguin Random House and became a Guardian Book of the Year.

I have an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing and a BSc Hons (1st class) in Textiles, so my life is pretty much dominated by making things. My writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Stylist and The Sunday Times, and I was part of the Rebekah Vardy documentary ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses and Me’, produced by Hardcash Productions. I chair book events, appearing at EIBF, Wigtown, The Social, Rough Trade and Camp Good Life; I have interviewed some of the world’s leading authors including Maggie O’Farrell, Michael Rosen and Etgar Keret. I regularly tutor and guest lecture in Creative Writing and mentor a select handful of writers in fiction and non-fiction.

I divide my time between London and the south coast of England where I’m working on my next projects, and am regularly found haunting a gallery, book party, some restaurant or a gig, when I do try to relax, I make ceramics.

I guess this Substack isn’t massively coherent and flies in the face of what you’re meant to be doing online (I am bad at being a brand unless the brand is being bad), but if you’ve read my books, it makes perfect sense. Either which way, 3 am things is a Substack featured publication, it’s great to have you here, thank you for reading.

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Subscribe to Ali Millar's 3am things

Things I think about at 3 in the morning. Mostly writing, art and books.

People

Ali Millar

A Scotsman artist to watch 24. I write things. AVA ANNA ADA (White Rabbit) - 'as brilliantly queasy as Nabokov's final novel'-Stuart Kelly. THE LAST DAYS (PRH) - a Guardian Book of the Year 'a masterpiece'-Amy Liptrot.