"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
October 2013
Eleanor Catton: Eyes wide open

Eleanor Catton: Eyes wide open

I meet Eleanor Catton in the Langham Hotel straight after her Woman’s Hour debut and the day before the Booker shortlist announcement. I have a feeling that her second and most recent novel, The Luminaries, will be on the shortlist and I also have a feeling that she already knows whether it is or not....
Lighter Than My Shadow

Lighter Than My Shadow

Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats she’d have to eat it for breakfast. But in any life a set of circumstances can collide, and normal behaviour can soon shade into something sinister, something deadly. Lighter...
Living dangerously

Living dangerously

Adriana Lisboa’s latest novel Crow Blue, her first to be published in the UK, is a lyrical and passionate account of a young girl on a roadtrip from Rio de Janeiro to Colorado in search of family ties. We catch up with her as the spirit of Carnaval sweeps the sleepy Suffolk coast. Author portrait...
Sathnam Sanghera: Novelist on the corner

Sathnam Sanghera: Novelist on the corner

Marriage Material is the story of three generations of a Punjabi Sikh family, from the 1960s to the present day, set against the backdrop of their Wolverhampton corner shop. It sets the story of this one family, with its individual secrets and scandals, up against the broader political context of the period. From Conservative MP...
The curse of Poe

The curse of Poe

I was the wrong guy in the right place. At least that’s what I thought when I opened the office door and the elderly gentleman asked me if I was Miranda, the private detective. I quickly realised that he was a rich client. Not so much because he was wearing a suit and tie, both...
Exemplary epistles

Exemplary epistles

In Darling Monster, John Julius Norwich collects the letters his mother, the screen actress and society darling Lady Diana Cooper wrote to her only son at school and through his early adulthood. Covering the period 1939 to 1952, the letters take in the first rumblings of World War II – which Lady Diana and her...
Water

Water

He entered the bathroom completely naked, in harsh silence. Only the red washcloth hung from his shoulders, giving his hunched back some colour. I led him to the shower cabinet, trying to steady his slow steps. To support him. There wasn’t room for both of us inside, so I stayed out as he stepped in....
Ginny & Penelope Skinner channel their teens

Ginny & Penelope Skinner channel their teens

Ginny and Penelope Skinner’s Briony Hatch is a warm and wickedly funny graphic novel about a (temporarily) displaced teen who tries to escape reality by immersing herself in fantasy fiction while her parents’ marriage crumbles and her so-called friends obsess about boys and self-image. Mark Reynolds fires off some questions about the book and the...
To the Holy Mountain

To the Holy Mountain

It was Holy Week when they found him. His wallet was missing, along with one of his shoes, but they were all drunk and Nick was always passing out in cathedrals, and so it took them fifteen minutes to realize he was dead. Dato woke me up by throwing oranges at my window; they shouted...
Italo Calvino's granular eye

Italo Calvino’s granular eye

Collection of Sand was published in Italian as Collezione di sabbia in October 1984. It was the last organic volume of new work put together by Italo Calvino in his lifetime (the only book to appear after it and before the author’s death in 1985 was the final anthology of cosmicomic stories which largely reproduced...