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Isabel Costello

Novelist and short story writer based in London. Debut novel PARIS MON AMOUR now out in digital and audio, paperback on 22 May 2017. Host of the Literary Sofa blog.
Isabel Costello has written 300 posts for The Literary Sofa

Writers on Location – Henrietta Rose-Innes on Cape Town

Last week’s piece on Resilient Thinking and First Drafts was my first post about writing in a long time and it struck a chord with so many people that I’ve decided to do a follow-up on resilience and the editing process, once I get to that point with my new manuscript (patience required).  Whilst my … Continue reading

Resilient Thinking and First Drafts

As Hemingway famously said, ‘the first draft of anything is garbage.’ (I always thought he said ‘shit’ but anyway.) And as he also famously said, ‘writing is rewriting’. Now I am not a particular fan of Hemingway nor of writing aphorisms, which I have learned to approach on a ‘pick your own’ basis, (as in … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Naomi Hamill on Kosovo

Last week’s Autumn Sofa Spotlight sparked lots of interest, so thank you very much to the many who read and shared it.  One of the most rewarding comments I get is that my selections feature titles people haven’t heard of but now want to read; the books I enjoy aren’t usually the most talked-about or … Continue reading

Sofa Spotlight – Autumn 2017

Welcome to the Autumn 2017 Sofa Spotlight, my quarterly selection of titles which have really stood out amongst the many I read.  In real life I’m always being asked about my latest discoveries and this slot is a kind of virtual version of that conversation*. This is a short but varied list, with a story … Continue reading

Guest Author – Tor Udall on Writing about Grief and Transformation

Autumn has made an early appearance this year and many of us will be keen to seize any opportunity to revisit the summer, which is exactly what’s happening today on the Literary Sofa.  Tor Udall’s season-spanning debut novel A Thousand Paper Birds was one of my Summer Reads 2017 but as there wasn’t time to … Continue reading

York Festival of Writing 2017 – From a different angle

When something inspires and motivates you, when it makes what you already love seem even more fun and worthwhile and connects you with lots of others who feel the same way, you want to be part of it.  And last weekend I got to be part of the York Festival of Writing 2017 in a … Continue reading

The Verdict on my Summer Holiday Reading 2017

I love September – it’s the start of a new year for me in every sense, when I’m full of plans and energy (horrible depressing January, you can’t compete).  It’s great to be back on the Sofa after my almost-month away from the blog and if you missed it last week, I started the new … Continue reading

Two Weeks in Northern Spain (Asturias/Cantabria/Galícia)

Hope you’ve had a good summer – it’s great to be back on the Sofa after the break and I’ve spent the last couple of days fine-tuning an autumn programme featuring brilliant authors and some really interesting and original books. But it’s not always just about books here, so the new season kicks off with … Continue reading

Guest Author – Annemarie Neary on Fictional Orphans

This wasn’t supposed to be the final blog post before the summer break but it is (see Postscript for my excuse), and I can’t think of a better way to round up the season’s coverage of new fiction than to welcome Annemarie Neary back to the Sofa. Annemarie first joined me last year with a … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Jenny Ashcroft on recreating a Vanished Egypt

Today’s guest Jenny Ashcroft is an author I’ve wanted to feature on the Literary Sofa for ages and it’s wonderful that the moment has now come… Jenny and I met online a few years ago, when we read each other’s manuscripts prior to publication and got to know each other in real life.  All writers … Continue reading