This year I challenged myself to read 30 books which I was very proud to have achieved until my friend told me she was on her 80th in November! I wanted to make more time for reading, for reflecting on what I read, and to record every book that I read. So here’s my list […]

I’ve been reading a lot of clever and ‘concentrate-y’ books (read: lit fic?) recently and was really missing the power of a novel of good length and brilliant story. In came Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield at just the right time. Set in a rural village community upon the banks of the river […]

Writing really is a strange and lonely occupation and, like many writers, my motivation ebbs and flows depending on how busy I am, what I’m writing, and my general mood. However, there are things I know that work to keep me organised and to keep me going. Here are my tips on how to stay […]

Ok, I finished a rough first draft of a short story about ten minutes ago, and nothing felt more apt than writing a speedy blog post about just how much I love this feeling (and just how much I dread the next stage of the process). As most people know, the first draft of anything […]

Have I mentioned that Autumn is my favourite time of year? Seven years of writing about Autumn on this blog later, I think it’s fair to say I’ve made my feelings about this season pretty clear. So it seems apt that the most recent book I read was the beautiful Autumn by Ali Smith which […]

Sometimes it’s nice to go back to an author where you know exactly what you’re going to get. As I make my way through Hardy’s rural back catalogue, I am conscious of the fact that I am knowingly avoiding the most depressing and shocking of his titles, Jude the Obscure. And, of course, it’s often […]

Reading books in translation is something I don’t do often enough, so a huge thank you to Peirene Press who kindly me sent a copy of this book and encouraged me to try something new. Faces on the Tip of My Tongue is a collection of stories set mostly in rural France, with a range […]

I’m not often so organised in my reading and rarely have I read a prize winner so quickly after it received a prize. But a short trip to Prague/Dresden this month meant that I plenty of opportunity to get stuck into something new, and Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage was my first pick. The way […]

When I’m asked what I’m writing on my Creative Writing MA, a lot of people seem surprised to hear that my answer is short stories. As many of you might know, I have written one (and a half) novels, and until I started on my Creative Writing course, I had never even considered the idea […]

From the front cover and blurb, I had a feeling that Washington Black was going to be just my cup of tea. The Man Booker Prize nominated novel from Canadian author Esi Edugyan spans years and continents, from the atrocities of Faith Plantation in Barbados, to inspiring and unbelievable adventures on the high seas and […]