These are strange times we are living in, there is no doubt. I, like many people, have sought some comfort and escape in my vast TBR pile and the wonderful world of stories. Thank goodness for online book shops, Kindles and friends who pass you on pre-publication proofs of the biggest upcoming novels. The Girl […]

Having visited the wonderful Aviemore twice in the last year, and having stayed in the town itself (without a car) for a week, I like to think that I’m now something of an expert of what to do and where to eat and drink. Aviemore is a small town in the Scottish Cairngorm National Park […]

A recent article in The Guardian caused some controversy by suggesting that writing is an elite activity because it requires two things: time and space. Of course, both those things will often require money, meaning that as Lynn Steger Strong suggests, you can only be a writer if you can afford it. I’m not saying […]

Knowing that I would be writing my dissertation on Daisy Johnson’s beautiful Fen, it was good luck that I recently went to an event at Waterstones on Gower Street (clearly the best Waterstones in London) and heard Molly Aitken talk about her debut novel, The Island Child. Set on a remote Irish island, The Island […]

Look, I’m going to be honest here: I’m no short story competition expert. Of the 20+ competitions I have entered in the past year and a half, I’ve had exactly 0 successes – longlist, shortlist, somewhere-in-between-list. No luck. But I haven’t given up, and I continue to methodically and strategically apply to short story competitions, […]

It’s taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts about Bernadine Evaristo’s Booker Prize winning novel. Spanning generations, characters, histories and continents, Girl, Woman, Other follows the interconnected stories of mostly black, mostly British mostly women as they navigate their lives and learn how to accept themselves in different ways. Some characters are firecrackers […]

I read My Year of Rest and Relaxation over a couple of days while I was ill last week, and there’s definitely something quite claustrophobic and nightmarish about certainly the story of a woman trying to sleep for a year, while you yourself are unwell and sleeping a lot. I had been wanting to read […]