Four years (and according to WordPress, 200 posts) ago I started the Literary Sofa blog without a clue what I was doing or where it would lead. Four years later I am still really enjoying it as a way of sharing my love of good books and connecting with other readers and writers both online and in person – it’s amazing how many people associated with the blog I’ve now met in real life. Writing novels is lonely and a long game but running a literary blog brings instant rewards and, I’m happy to say, a very appreciative audience. Viewing figures have grown steadily year on year – which is great, of course – but my focus isn’t on the numbers, it’s on providing consistently interesting, informative and well-written content, which is largely down to the fabulous line-up of guest authors willing to join me on a virtual piece of furniture!
This post is the one where I say a proper thank you to everyone who has supported the Sofa and also me as a writer thus far: guest authors, editors, publicists, agents (especially mine), fellow bloggers, writer friends and everyone who reads the blog, shares posts, contributes to debates – you make it happen and you make it worth doing. It has been a challenge to find the time over the last year but it seems that a laid-back approach works just as well. I’ve stopped doing in-depth reviews that take a day to write (and too long to read) and have plans to post more round-ups in the style of last week’s Verdict on my Summer Reading in order to cover more books. I’ll definitely continue with my twice-yearly selections of forthcoming titles and am about to start reading for my Fiction Hot Picks 2016 which will be revealed mid December.
So to celebrate the Sofa’s fourth birthday, this week I am running the ‘traditional’ Literary Lunch competition. Those I have previously hosted, either through the competition or charity auction, have been thoroughly enjoyable for me and the guests (or at least that’s what they said) whether or not we’d met before. Basically I take the winner out for a nice lunch in London – they get a choice of venue – and lots of bookish conversation, although I can do other topics.
Every year some unsuccessful entrants communicate the depth of their disappointment to me (AKA friends trying to make me feel guilty). Explaining that I have no control over a random number generator is little comfort… So this year, mindful of events out there in the real world and having seen for myself people’s generosity at the Help Calais project, I am offering an additional identical Literary Lunch to the highest bidder if there are any takers (and if you’ve already emptied your pockets for the cause, I’m delighted.) The minimum bid is a £100 donation to Save the Children Child Refugee Crisis Appeal – any less and I may as well eat a sandwich at my desk and donate the money directly.
THE LITERARY LUNCH – what’s up for grabs x2:
I will take one guest out to lunch at a central London restaurant on a mutually convenient date within the next year. (If the winner/highest bidder wishes to bring a friend along at their own expense that is fine.)
HOW TO ENTER – CLOSING DATE MONDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 6pm UK
It’s easy! Everyone leaving a comment below will be automatically entered in the competition. All you have to do is name the best book you’ve read this year (any kind of book, published any time).
There is NO OBLIGATION to place a monetary bid but should you wish to, you can either include it in your competition entry or in a separate comment. The starting bid is £100.
There is no need to give your email address as I can see this in administrator mode.
Any help spreading word of the competition via your social networks would be much appreciated.
Next week it’s another Writers on Location post featuring debut author Lucy Brydon and the experiences which led to her novel SHANGHAI PASSENGER.