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Books, Competition

The Literary Lunch Third Blog Anniversary Competition – results



It’s hard to believe that this week sees the third anniversary of the Literary Sofa and it feels like something to celebrate.  The blog continues to grow in popularity with more hits than ever in the last twelve months and this week’s post is, as much as anything, an opportunity for me to say thank you to everyone who reads, shares and comments on my posts, and especially to the stellar line-up of guest authors* who just keep coming, from talented newcomers to high-profile literary novelists.  I’d also like to thank the publicists and editors who send me proofs/copies and invite me to events and the many other book bloggers whose posts I enjoy and who are so generous in their support of the Sofa.

Compiling my twice-yearly selections of new titles, Hot Picks in December and Summer Reads, continues to be my favourite part of running the blog and they are the most viewed – I’m currently gathering titles to consider for Hot Picks 2015 which will be posted in mid-December.  The new Writers on Location slot I introduced earlier this year, bringing together my love of fiction and travel, has had a fantastic response and you can look forward to discovering lots more intriguing settings and places in the coming months.

It’s been flattering to receive a lot of requests for guest posts on blogging for other websites and to know that the Literary Sofa has been mentioned in workshops on the subject.  This week it’s featured in the latest Good Blog Guide on New Writing South.  I’ve said all I have to say about blogging for the moment, but you can find these and other external guest posts under the Elsewhere tab.

When I ran the Literary Lunch competition for the first anniversary of the Sofa in 2012, a friend doubted anyone would enter because they didn’t know me, to which I said, ‘well, you enter then, and if you’re right you’ll win’. (It was won by someone I didn’t know).  Since then it’s become a bit of a thing – I’ve actually hosted more Literary Lunches than there have been anniversaries, and earlier this year, two very generous people even paid to eat lunch with me in aid of Authors for the Philippines, helping me to raise nearly £200!  With my current novel deadline, daytime socialising is a rare treat, so I’m really looking forward to the next one!

The Undertaker's DaughterStation ElevenCOMPETITION  DETAILS – ENDS SUNDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 5PM UK

If you love food and wine, chatting about books/writing/travel and meeting new people/catching up with a friend (delete as appropriate) enter this year’s competition to join me somewhere lovely in central London any time in the next year on a mutually convenient date.

There are also two book prizes – both superb and featured in recent guest posts  – THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mayfield and STATION ELEVEN by Emily St John Mandel, which is my own personal favourite of 2014.  Donors TBC.

**Announcing the winners!**

The three winners  selected by random number generator at 5pm UK on Sunday 21 September are:

FIRST PRIZE:  Mike Clarke


THIRD PRIZE: Sara Williams

I’ll be in touch with the winners in order re. allocation of prizes depending on what the first prize winner chooses.

THANK YOU to everyone who entered, producing a remarkably diverse and interesting list of books many of which I’d never heard of, and to all who helped to spread word of the competition.  Also thank you and welcome to the many new Twitter and blog followers who have discovered the Literary Sofa this week – I hope you’ll return often.

*The guest author slot is by invitation only.


Next week I’ll be joined by Paul Ewen in character as his outrageous alter ego, Francis Plug, author of How To Be A Famous Author.  We’re collaborating on a piece about Author Events, and I must admit to being slightly nervous…

About Isabel Costello

Writer (novels: Paris Mon Amour 2017; Scent 2021).Host of the Literary Sofa blog. Co-founder of Resilience for Writers with Voula Tsoflias. Perfume lover and Francophile.


26 thoughts on “The Literary Lunch Third Blog Anniversary Competition – results

  1. May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes; loved it to pieces!

    Posted by Jennifer Grigg | September 15, 2014, 12:45
  2. The book that has immersed me this past year has been ‘The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink’ by the tactile wordsmith Olivia Lang Something about this book ‘changed the tenor of my day’ ‘The pieces sat up’ for this damaged soul & I wept

    Posted by Carol Lamond (@maggiefairy) | September 15, 2014, 12:59
  3. Congratulations, Isabel – may the Literary Sofa continue to go from strength to strength! I really don’t know how you manage to fit in writing as well as running this, but then you’re only a young thing (actually, most people are compared with me – I tend to forget that!)

    Posted by Tony Whelpton | September 15, 2014, 14:45
  4. Congratulations! If I have to pick one it would be Writers in Conversation Vol.5 by Christopher Bigsby. Felt sad finishing it.

    Posted by Alison Clayton-Smith | September 15, 2014, 18:38
  5. My book would be The Sea by John Banville. Loved it.
    Thanks for the great blog – keep it up!

    Posted by Claire Fuller | September 15, 2014, 19:04
  6. So many great books to choose from but The Broken by Tamara Cohen is the first book in a very long time that surprised me with the twist 🙂

    Posted by Anne Coates | September 16, 2014, 11:21
  7. In the Blood Lisa Unger chilling scary unputdownable,

    Posted by Rhonda | September 16, 2014, 15:07
  8. I absolutely loved Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life – such a clever concept and wonderful characters.

    Posted by Fiona Kyle | September 16, 2014, 15:14
  9. Hi Isabel,
    Congratulations on such a popular long running literary blog.
    To be a pain, I have three. I really enjoyed Station Eleven – even better was The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante and I also enjoyed The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee.

    Posted by Ruth F Hunt | September 16, 2014, 15:39
  10. I’ve really enjoyed my times curled up (silently) on your sofa in the past year, Isabel. I’d nominate ‘A long, long way’ by Sebastian Barry. Hadn’t expected to be so blown away by a book about war, but he masterfully links life in the trenches with the events in Dublin in 1916.

    Posted by Margaret Dolley (@QueenOfPunc) | September 17, 2014, 10:27
  11. “Barracuda” by Christos Tsiolkas. The new novel from Australia’s most fearless writer offering his latest take on modern Australia. Never an easy read but always a worthwhile one!

    Posted by Peter Papathanasiou | September 17, 2014, 17:15
  12. Three years! That is quite something. Congratulations.
    Charles Lambert’s With a Zero at its Heart is my choice. It’s a book you can curl up on your the sofa with or pick up and put down any number of times and always find something new and unexpected. Each of the short pieces explodes in your mind. There’s really nothing like it.

    Posted by Clarissa Botsford | September 17, 2014, 19:01
  13. Has to be a master of the dark tale: Lesley Glaister. The book: Little Egypt.

    Posted by Ruby Speechley | September 18, 2014, 00:10
  14. Congratulations. I loved Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood. Beautifully written and interesting idea.

    Posted by Peter Domican | September 18, 2014, 10:05
  15. A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray – so candid, so touching, so gutted when I finished it!

    Posted by Jackie Buxton | September 18, 2014, 17:38
  16. Congratulations on three years, Isabel! I’m trying my hand again as surely my lucky number will come up in this comp one day! My favourite book of the year so far is one you have on your prize list – Station Eleven. It’s fantastic and a completely believable future of the world with characters that I was completely engaged with.

    Posted by Amanda Saint (@saintlywriter) | September 18, 2014, 19:36
  17. The book I have enjoyed this year was Elephant Moon by John Sweeney, following the extraordinary journey of a young woman evacuating children (ostracised because they are neither Burmese nor British/American) from Rangoon to India ahead of an advancing Japanese invasion. Completely absorbed into so many different plights in the middle of world war.

    Posted by Sara Williams | September 18, 2014, 21:29
  18. Congratulations on the anniversary! Mine would by The Boat, by Clara Salaman. Twisty, gripping, brilliantly written psychological thriller.

    Posted by Justine | September 20, 2014, 11:58
  19. Congrats on your blog’s third anniversary, hope there will be many more. I’ve made a point of listing all the books I’ve read since 1st of January and I’ve been writing little comments and grading them (for my eyes only!) I’ve given ten out of ten to only one book so far – Regeneration by Pat Barker. I can’t fault it.

    Posted by louisewalters12 | September 20, 2014, 15:22
  20. I love this competition, because it makes me look back over my year’s reading – I actually get my Kindle out and scroll through my library to remind me what I’ve read. Picking one is ludicrously difficult, so I’m going for the one that was an unexpected pleasure, and that was A Room With a View by E.M. Forster. My daughter has just started her English Literature A-Level and I used her summer reading list as a source of ‘books I should have read by now and haven’t’. A Room With a View was one of them. I loved it because it was funny, and quirky, and because it was written with the most delightful narrative voice.

    Posted by rachaeldunlop | September 20, 2014, 15:52
  21. “Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys” by Viv Albertine – amusing and also fearlessly personal memoir by the guitarist from The Slits — ranges from outrageous anecdotes about Johnny Rotten to complete desperation and tragedy — but she strength and perseverance are inspirational. (Ian Rankin recommended the book on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 book club Edinburgh festival edition).

    Posted by Mike Clarke | September 20, 2014, 17:09
  22. Mine would be Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s an account of her 1,000+ mile walk along the Pacific Crest Trail while she deals with putting back together her broken life.

    Posted by Eleni Kyriacou | September 21, 2014, 08:13
  23. Argh, so hard to choose just one. But if I must, I’d go for Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book. As beautiful and blissful as a sunny Summer’s day in the Baltic. Congratulations on the blog’s 3rd anniversary, and keep those posts coming!

    Posted by evaontiveros | September 21, 2014, 09:45
  24. I read and enjoyed a lot of books this year. But there was only one I fell in love with: Me and Georgette by D.B. Schaefer. I loved the idea, the plot, the writing style and the humour.

    Posted by Miriam | September 21, 2014, 10:29
  25. Let’s not beat around the bush here. EVERYONE knows the best book of 2014, along with every other year since it’s publication (1997) is: James Dyson – Against The Odds.
    You’ve got my email address for the prize. I’m a bit busy in October but November looks good. Ps. I can eat a LOT!

    Posted by benmblackman | September 21, 2014, 16:29

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