"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Author Archive
Cathy Rentzenbrink: Book whisperer

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Book whisperer

“When I make a friend I wonder what sits on their bookshelves,” writes Cathy Rentzenbrink, ex-bookseller, bestselling author and amiable bookworm. I smile as I read this. Yes, me too. These last few months of lockdown, forcing so many of us to work from home and Zoom with colleagues, has brought that to the forefront....
Nicci French: What lies beneath

Nicci French: What lies beneath

The novel begins with a scream. It’s 3am and Tabitha has been woken up by the human howl. She’s in prison. Tabitha is currently on remand at Crow Grange Prison. She’s accused of murdering her neighbour and former maths teacher Stuart Robert Rees, whose body was found in her garden shed. She was found covered...
Kirstin Innes: Infinite variety

Kirstin Innes: Infinite variety

Scabby Queen is a Scottish version of the Old Maid card game in which “the queen goes round and round, and the object is to get rid of her – pass her on to the next one as quickly as you can” – and the person left with the queen is hit over the knuckles...
Jini Reddy: Believing is seeing

Jini Reddy: Believing is seeing

There’s synchronicity at play as I emerge from lockdown and read Jini Reddy’s timely and entertaining Wainwright Prize-shortlisted travel guide Wanderland. Though, to be fair, travel guide is too simplistic a description. It’s autobiography, spliced with a search for self, and a series of escapades in places of spiritual interest from Snowdonia, to Glastonbury to...
Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu’s debut novel The Windfall is a highly entertaining Indian comedy of manners. Family, friendship, identity, romance, a Swarovski-embellished sofa, worthless sons and insecurity in all its forms make up this sharp comic tale. The Jha family are new millionaires, thanks to the sale of Mr Jha’s internet start-up business, and they decide (some...
Mr Cunningham's feelings for snow

Mr Cunningham’s feelings for snow

Michael Cunningham’s best-known work is the Pulitzer Prize-winning sensation The Hours, about three women whose lives intersect across the 20th century. His latest novel features another trio of characters, but this time their lives are more directly entwined. The Snow Queen opens in 2004 on a wintry New York day as Barratt Meeks, a 30-something...
Laline Paull's hive society

Laline Paull’s hive society

The literary world is buzzing over a remarkable debut novel featuring Flora 717, an unlikely heroine born into the lowest ranks of society and breaking free to achieve like no one of her kind before her. Flora happens to be a bee. Described in some quarters as Animal Farm meets The Handmaid’s Tale, Laline Paull’s...
Andrea Gillies: Sirens call

Andrea Gillies: Sirens call

Andrea Gillies’ second novel opens with Nina Findlay recovering in a hospital in a tiny postcard-perfect Greek island. She’s lucky to be alive. She’s survived a head-on collision with a minibus with only a broken leg, whereas her life just before the accident was in tatters following the implosion of her relationship with two brothers....
J. Courtney Sullivan forever

J. Courtney Sullivan forever

J. Courtney Sullivan’s epic third novel The Engagements serves up a sparkling slice of American social history alongside tales of love, marriage, break-up and everything in-between as it charts the fortunes of a diamond ring through the lives of couples spanning five generations from 1901 to 2012. Conjuring great passion and deep betrayal, this inventive...
Cheryl Strayed: Once upon a time in the wild

Cheryl Strayed: Once upon a time in the wild

I meet Cheryl Strayed in the offices of her British publisher in Russell Square. She joins me after a breakfast script meeting with Nick Hornby, who is adapting her global bestseller Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found for the big screen. Her excitement about the movie is palpable. Strayed shot to global fame in...