10204 RAW 28-01-22 Isabel ( LEICA SL2 - VARIO-ELMARIT-SL 1-2.8-4-24-90 ASPH. - - Aperture priority - ¹⁄₃₀ sec at ƒ - 4.0 - ISO 250 - 0 EV ) 1000184I’m a writer of contemporary fiction. Originally from Salisbury, Wiltshire, I have lived in London for over 30 years but my lifelong links with France regularly take me back to Paris and Provence. I read Modern Languages (French and German) at university and am delighted that my two grown-up sons share my love of languages.

My debut novel Paris Mon Amour was released in June 2016 by digital publisher Canelo (UK, USA and Canada) and as an audio book from Audible (worldwide). It was published in paperback under my own Literary Sofa imprint in May 2017 and was a W H Smith Travel Summer Pick.  It was re-released in April 2021 by Muswell Press to coincide with publication of my second novel, Scent which was subsequently longlisted for the 2022 Polari Prize for LGBTQ writing. You can find details of both novels here.

My short fiction has been widely published in magazines and anthologies including Rattle Tales 2 and both volumes of Stories for Homes in aid of Shelter. I’ve been longlisted in the 2013 Lightship Flash Fiction competition and shortlisted for The Asham Award 2012, Short Fiction Journal Prize 2013 and the inaugural 2014 Room To Write competition.  My short story The Word for Freedom lent its name to the Retreat West anthology to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage in 2018. You can hear me read it here. My first published poem, Fluid, is included in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology from Muswell Press, November 2021, and The Night We Met features in the second volume published in May 2023. I wrote a piece here on being Visible and Vocal for Bi Visibility Day 2022.

In 2017 I co-founded Resilience for Writers with author and psychologist Voula Tsoflias, a project which emerged from posts about my writing journey on this blog.  Our Resilient Thinking for Writers workshop teaches skills which can help any writer to navigate the inevitable setbacks and stay on track – sadly live workshops are off the cards for the time being but we’re working on other ways to bring the content to you.

I really enjoy collaborative approaches to creative writing and exchange critiques with several other writers  as well as undertaking freelance editorial work. I’m a mentor on the Retreat West Novel Creator course and also on an individual basis for that organisation.

I’ve been part of a stimulating and highly opinionated book group for over twenty years.  My personal territory as reader and writer centres on the crossover between literary and commercial fiction (I often think it’s hard to tell the difference). I am drawn to books featuring complicated families/relationships; LGBTQ lives; realistic portrayal of female sexuality (especially that of older and queer women); strong geographical settings.  I also love reading in French.

My background is in marketing and communications (promoting London firstly as a tourist destination then as a global finance centre). I am also a professionally qualified aromatherapist, trained at the Tisserand Institute.  That has led onto a passionate interest in perfumery, one of the themes of my novel Scent.

My leisure interests include travel (favourite destinations France, USA and South Africa), foreign language film and TV, art and cooking. I am a keen swimmer and fitness enthusiast.

You can get in touch via Twitter @isabelcostello or in the comments section on any posts.  However, please be aware that I don’t accept review requests directly from authors. (I mean it!)

My agent is Diana Beaumont at Marjacq Scripts. For interviews/events, please contact me directly.

Photo © Paul Greenfield

About the Literary Sofa

I started this blog in September 2011, inspired by my love of reading and talking about good novels – it’s what I do all the time in real life. Here you’ll find in-depth reviews, listings, guest author posts and features about fiction from the perspective of both readers and writers. I hope you find something to add to your TBR list and look forward to hearing what excites you in the world of books. I’m honoured to have won Best Reviewer of Literature in the 2021 Saboteur Awards having been shortlisted and commended in previous years. I look back on the Literary Sofa’s first decade in this post.


8 thoughts on “Bio

  1. Wow nice blog! I actually just found it through For Book’s Sake’s article you wrote (or was interviewed for?), which is pretty cool! Anyways glad I wound up here, I’ll go check out some of your posts!

    Posted by Sarah @betweenthepages | July 13, 2017, 19:34
  2. Hi Isabel, love that you love France, me too! I often set my stories there and even though I’m American, my heart’s often in France. Your novel sounds intriguing, will definitely check it out. Cheers!

    Posted by Karen | November 24, 2018, 01:26


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