"The mind is a fascinating thing, and that also plays to the supernatural. Is it real or isn’t it? Does anyone really know?" S.J.I. Holliday
A hunger artist

A hunger artist

In the past few decades public interest in the art of fasting has drastically declined. While it used to be very profitable to put on big, stand-alone exhibitions, doing so today would be completely impossible. It was another time. Back then, the whole city would get caught up in what...
Animal

Animal

Animal: Exploring the Zoological World is a visually stunning and broad-ranging exploration and celebration of humankind’s ongoing fascination with the world’s remarkable fauna. Since our very first moments on earth, we have been compelled to make images of the curious beasts around us – whether as sources of food, danger,...
Shadows and elevations

Shadows and elevations

With his camera and notebook, Jack London circles Hawksmoor’s Christ Church. He does not look up at the portico, the threatening mass of columns, ledges and alcoves. The Mayan dagger of the steeple. He does not step beyond the defensive railings. He stays outside. A photograph from distance, in which...
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...
Latest entries
My Mauretania

My Mauretania

My name is Horace Flemming. A girl with a kind, beaky nose and a leather notepad burst into my room this morning and said she wanted to know about ships. She’d found out about me in the library. I was in an old newspaper, she said. The man who made the model ships. That was...
Singular museums

Singular museums

This list comes out of writing Little, a novel about Madame Tussaud, whose waxworks on the Marylebone Road has always seemed to me a museum about one person. Marie Tussaud lived through the French Revolution, and many of the people she cast she actually knew. Her wax figures represent the different stations of her life:...
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...