literary fiction

Meet Laurie Steed, author of ‘You Belong Here’

I wish everyone had the chance to meet Laurie Steed, or at least to get an email from him. I’ve been lucky enough to know him for several years and been the beneficiary of his gentle, insightful and uplifting guidance in my own writing practice. Laurie is a true writing soul – a person who believes, utterly, in the importance…

Meet Jennifer Down, author of ‘Our Magic Hour’

There are so many different types of authors in this world – but the ones that really excite me are those who seem to operate on a different plane to the rest of us. The ones who notice things that we (or I) seem to miss – and then convey these things using extraordinary, inventive language. The ones who reveal…

Capturing Grief: ‘Our Magic Hour,’ by Jennifer Down

It happens to all of us. At some point in life, we all become familiar with grief in a way we’d always hoped to avoid. For me, that happened last year. The death of my father in law was shocking and not shocking. Not shocking because he was 91 years old. Shocking because the cancer took him so swiftly. Now,…

The Ego of Writing: ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, by Elizabeth Strout

There are times (many) when I think of the ego involved in writing. What makes my voice, my thoughts, my ideas, worth recording, let alone publishing? What gives me the right to think I can and should write? Who cares what I have to say? Then a writer comes along who makes you realise that writing need not be about…

Thoughts on ‘The Words in My Hand’ and why historical fiction is a stupid label

Labels help and labels hinder. When it comes to finding my daughter’s school hat (which she loses at least once a day) the fact that it clearly has her name on it is a huge bonus. When it comes to the genre term ‘historical fiction’, the label is a hindrance. A catch-all phrase, usually applied to novels by women. Some…

On mean reviews, and ‘A Guide to Berlin,’ by Gail Jones

I nearly didn’t read this book. When I heard about the Nabokovian inspiration for it, I was immediately daunted. Confession: I have not read Nabokov. I understand his writing is sublime, and that may be the problem. I’m intimidated. Therefore, when I heard that Gail Jones’ A Guide to Berlin was named after one of Nabokov’s short stories and contained…

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