"I am animal-mad... There does seem to be a counter-movement now towards recognising they are sentient beings, which is soothing and hopefully signals a better future for all animals at our hand." Lisa Harding
A writer’s life
Thrills and chills at the summit

Thrills and chills at the summit

Sarah Pearse’s debut novel The Sanatorium, a Reese’s Book Club pick and an instant Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, is a gripping contemporary gothic thriller about a serial killer on the loose in the Swiss Alps. Detective Sergeant Elin Warner has taken time away from her job after a traumatic case has left...
Runaways and free spirits

Runaways and free spirits

“Every landscape needs a figure in it, perhaps especially a figure that is only intermittently visible, that is mysterious and alert,” observes a gardener in Jane Smiley’s The Strays of Paris who spies a beautiful racehorse roaming freely in the middle of the French capital. The racehorse is Paras (short for Perestroika). She became a...
All the love in the world

All the love in the world

“It is nice when two people come together in the universe,” Huma Qureshi remembers telling her young son in the opening pages of How We Met. He promptly asks how she and his dad Richard came to be together, and so begins Huma’s story of her quest for married love. It’s a short book –...
A big thing or a small

A big thing or a small

Frances Quinn’s debut novel The Smallest Man is inspired by the real-life story of Jeffrey Hudson, who became ‘court dwarf’ and a true friend to Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I. Spanning two decades that changed England forever, it’s a heartening tale of being different, but bold enough to follow your dreams. Where...
Multitasking

Multitasking

Catherine Steadman is a woman of many parts. A celebrated actress, novelist and screenwriter, best known as Lady Mary’s love rival Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey, her two novels to date, both tightly wound psychological thrillers, have been huge bestsellers. We catch up with her as her second novel Mr Nobody is released in...
To do or not to do

To do or not to do

The Irish Times features writer, failed rock star and author of OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea reflects on some significant life, career and reading choices, names some of his literary, comedy and comic-book influences, and grapples with organising a writing regime and grasping an idea before it breaks free. Where are you now? In...
A new normal

A new normal

Rose Tremain’s latest novel Islands of Mercy is a daring exploration of sanctuary and identity that ranges from the genteel tearooms of 19th-century Bath to the rainforests of Borneo, via the slums of Dublin and the non-conformist nightlife of Paris. She tells us what makes her tick through trying times. Where are you now? At...
Plagued

Plagued

Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars tells the story of overworked nurse Julia Power, her eager young helper Bridie Sweeney, and the real-life figure of Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Féin politician, activist and medical doctor, as they battle the Great Flu of 1918 in the emergency maternity ward of a Dublin hospital. The intense...
Down by the river

Down by the river

Louise Candlish was credited with creating a new genre of ‘property noir’ with Our House and Those People, and now brings murder to the river commute in her latest novel The Other Passenger. She tells us about her writing schedule, books and authors she admires, and a never-ending TBR pile. Where are you now? At...
Playing God

Playing God

Nikita Lalwani’s latest novel You People poses the tantalising question: in a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live? Set in London pizzeria where half the kitchen staff are undocumented immigrants, it is a witty and humane snapshot of undervalued lives and...