"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
In too deep

In too deep

Having laid my son-in-law out for the count, I continue on my way. From the outside, anyone might think I’ve lost all feeling. Once upon a time, I knew myself well. I mean that my behaviour rarely surprised me. When you’ve experienced most situations, you also learn the correct responses...
Before all this

Before all this

Before all this there were phone calls, there were letters, there were postcards, there were badly printed posters in corner shop windows, there were crowded notice boards, there was proper conversation. There were names and numbers written in tipsy scrawl on the peeled-off backs of beermats. There was ink. There...
Louise Candlish: Location, location

Louise Candlish: Location, location

Louise Candlish’s twelfth novel Our House is an outstanding thriller that has been receiving high praise. I had the good fortune to meet Louise earlier this year in Bristol where we were both attending Crimefest. A few weeks later I received a copy of Our House in the post. Set...
City limits

City limits

They say everybody has at least one book inside them. I know I did once. The only question back then was which language it would be written in. I’ve introduced you to the in-laws, now meet my parents. Like the husband’s family, we all were born, live and will almost...
Puppetmasters

Puppetmasters

Do you ever have the feeling that somebody or something is influencing your life in some way? Making you do the foolish things that you know you really shouldn’t, providing snakes where in fact you should be going up ladders? You’re quite right. There is. The somebody is you, programmed...
Rachel Heng: Forever people

Rachel Heng: Forever people

Rachel Heng’s remarkable debut novel Suicide Club imagines a disturbing not-so-distant New York in which death is put on hold for those with wealth and power and the determination to cling on, while the majority are left gawping at the gates of immortality. Lea is a 100-year-old ‘lifer’ with a...
Reading art

Reading art

David Trigg’s Reading Art: Art for Book Lovers is an enchanting compendium of artworks that celebrate books and reading through 2,000 years of art history. Featuring almost 300 artworks from museums and collections around the world, it is an inspiring homage to the written word. A stunning survey of painting...
Latest entries
Unflinching and unforgettable

Unflinching and unforgettable

Catriona Ward’s superbly crafted, atmospheric new novel Little Eve continues to expand her oeuvre as one of the most interesting writers in Britain today. Following on from her stunning gothic debut Rawblood (winner of the Best Horror Novel at the 2016 British Fantasy Awards, and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award), Little...
Phenomenal women

Phenomenal women

In Summer 2017, I decided I wanted to read an anthology of poetry by women that would cover writers from the ancient world to today. I had edited several anthologies myself, but the remit had always been to include the ‘greatest hits’. I had become uncomfortably aware how few female poets featured in most general...
Scandal, intrigue and everything in-between

Scandal, intrigue and everything in-between

John Boyne is the author of nine novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories. His most recent novels are The Heart’s Invisible Furies (February 2017 – a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick, now shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award) and A Ladder to the Sky (August 2018)....
The eye of the Tigris

The eye of the Tigris

The present is an arrogant time in which to live, always has been. Humans of the present look back at their people, land, and history, and whisper to themselves with glee, We are not them. But we were always them. We are our history; we are the crimes of our ancestors. And we wait, mouths...
Great expectations untold

Great expectations untold

In 1949 an Australian man is travelling around Europe – a Europe that has only recently emerged from the cataclysmic shock of WWII, and still very much bears the marks of unhealed, perhaps unhealable searing wounds. This man, Denison Deasey, carries with him an aura of mystery and of multiform tragedy, of fate eluded and...
Independent voices

Independent voices

Commissioning editors once held sway at the large publishing companies. They were respected for their knowledge and idiosyncratic flair in spotting potential new literary talent. The advent of digital and Amazon, and the subsequent focus on financial performance have constrained the more experimental natures of big publishers, leaving the field open to independents. Daring, risk-taking...
Isabella Beeton and beating impostor syndrome

Isabella Beeton and beating impostor syndrome

Ah, impostor syndrome – pernicious underminer of talented people everywhere. No matter how brilliant your marks are, no matter what professional coups you pull off, deep down inside you believe all compliments are lies, and that you are only one mistake from being ‘found out’. Infuriatingly, it’s the talentless meatheads lacking an iota of charisma...
Once in Paris

Once in Paris

The call comes when he least expects it. He’s tidying away what’s left of lunch – some cold meat wrappers, a crust of baguette – when the phone rings, in that short-tempered peremptory way machines have. He almost doesn’t answer it; he’s been fending off unwanted offers of insurance, unlimited broadband, crates of discount wine...
The speculative birth of a princess

The speculative birth of a princess

The Princesse de Clèves, a historical novel about the Court of Henri II, seems to have been conceived early in the year 1671. Many French critics think that, on the evidence of her letters to the Abbé Ménage and of her earlier novels, the Princesse de Montpensier and Zayde, Madame de Lafayette must have had...
On Tahrir Square

On Tahrir Square

It was going to be a decisive day, and I was anxious. I put on a thick hoodie, and in my bag I carried a water bottle and, reluctantly, a small onion. I couldn’t call anyone. The “bastards” had cut off all communication. I took a taxi from Zamalek to Heliopolis, where I found my...