"Hwang Sok-yong has a knack of presenting us with stories that look like the simple jottings of an idle, curious man... yet each phrase almost is invested with the power of a parable." Mika Provata-Carlone
A writer’s life
Sensations and sensibilities

Sensations and sensibilities

Imogen Hermes Gowar’s debut novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is a spellbinding and widely acclaimed tale of curiosities, desires, seduction and obsession, centring around the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels of late 18th-century London. She offers a peek inside her southeast London home on a typical writing day. Where are you now? On...
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)....
Daydream believer

Daydream believer

Salley Vickers’ latest novel The Librarian is the story of Sylvia Blackwell, a woman in her twenties in the 1950s who moves to the quaint Wiltshire market town of East Mole to work in a library. When she falls in love with an older man, her interactions with his precocious daughter and her neighbours’ son...
Living on the edge

Living on the edge

In Natasha Carthew’s raw, uncompromising and intensely lyrical first adult novel All Rivers Run Free, we encounter a brittle young woman called Ia Pendilly, who lives with her brutal common-law husband in a caravan on the Cornish coast. When Ia finds an abandoned waif washed up on the shore, she makes a precarious break for...
Down to a T

Down to a T

Sally Rooney, whose debut novel Conversations with Friends is a frank and funny examination of intimacy, infidelity and what it means to be a young woman in the 21st century, has scooped the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. She takes a break from editing her next book to answer our quickfire...
Summer at Sheep's Head

Summer at Sheep’s Head

Nick Laird’s latest novel Modern Gods is a provocative tale of two Northern Irish sisters who trying to negotiate unexpected challenges of faith, family, guilt and repentance – both at home and in the depths of a Papua New Guinea rainforest. He answers our quickfire Q&A on a recent London visit. Where are you now?...
Seeking the zing

Seeking the zing

Shanthi Sekaran’s second novel Lucky Boy is a moving and timely account of motherhood, immigration, infertility, adoption and minority life in contemporary America. It’s an eventful road trip from the Mexican border to Silicon Valley, told with verve and love. Her precious writing time is usually spent among trusted friends. Where are you now? I’m...
Keeping it pastoral

Keeping it pastoral

Tim Pears’ spellbinding new novel The Horseman tells the story of a touching, unexpected friendship between a carter’s son and a landowner’s daughter. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy that begins in a remote valley on the Devon–Somerset border in the early years of the twentieth century. He fills us in on his...
Still exploring

Still exploring

Robert Olen Butler’s latest novel Perfume River is a poignant examination of an ageing couple and a wider family fractured by the lingering fallout of the Vietnam War. After three historical novels featuring WWI correspondent Christopher Marlowe Cobb, he returns to contemporary fiction with trademark tenderness and suspense. Here are some notes from his workspace....
After dark

After dark

Chris Whitaker’s debut novel Tall Oaks is a suspenseful, sinister and hilarious story of a small town in the full glare of the world’s media after the mysterious disappearance of a young boy. He gives us the inside track on his writing and reading habits, big influences and favourite writers. Where are you now? At...