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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 345 posts for The Literary Sofa

My Year in Books 2018

It’s time to reveal my Books of 2018, a post I always relish writing, but this year it’s more complicated than usual.  It’s been a strange reading year for me, frustrating in some ways and very rewarding in others. I’ve ‘only’ read 80 books, slightly down on my usual average, as was the proportion written … Continue reading

Unusual Book Gift #3 – Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull  

The last in my trio of Unusual Book Gift gift suggestions is remarkable in several ways.  Firstly, novella Miss Marley is a prequel to one of the best known, best loved classics, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but with a new protagonist who appears alongside the characters familiar to most of us. The book lives up … Continue reading

Unusual Book Gift #2 – Single-story pamphlets from The Guillemot Factory

  Within minutes of pressing ‘publish’ on my first unusual book, The Accidental Memoir by Eve Makis and Anthony Cropper, I was receiving messages from readers saying they’d ordered it for themselves or as a present.  It’s a lovely thought that this will result in life stories which might never have been told. Today I’m … Continue reading

Unusual Book Gift #1 – The Accidental Memoir by Eve Makis and Anthony Cropper

Christmas isn’t really my thing but books and writing are, so over the next couple of weeks I’m dedicating three blog posts to book gifts which are in some way out of the ordinary* – please do support your local independent bookshop, or mine, the renowned Big Green Books who are really helpful even long distance. … Continue reading

A Novel Process – the ‘Re-type Draft’

Like many novelists, I get asked a lot of tricky questions and that’s not likely to change when my next book comes out. (Yes, I’m saying ‘when’ because I have to believe that to put myself through this.)  Today’s post – by popular demand! – looks at some of those questions and my experience of … Continue reading

The Word for Freedom – Stories of Women’s Suffrage

This week I am delighted to be featuring The Word for Freedom, an anthology just published to celebrate the centenary of female suffrage in the UK.  Amanda Saint, founder of Retreat West, joined forces with fellow author Rose McGinty to bring together these 24 stories, all donated by the authors to raise funds for London … Continue reading

Guest Post – Ben Blackman on Taking nine months to read one novel

Enter my competition she said, you could win a lunch with me she said. Yet somehow it comes to the fact I (that’s italics too but it’s difficult to tell if you can see) have ended up in charge of the Literary Sofa this week while Isabel pretends to be hard at work on her … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Joy Rhoades on the New England Tableland, NSW, Australia

The first Australian Writers on Location post (Clare Atkins on Darwin) proved exceptionally popular back in the summer and I’m delighted to be returning to a very different part of this huge and beautiful country in the company of Joy Rhoades, author of The Woolgrower’s Companion.  It’s a first novel which has achieved critical success, … Continue reading

Pick a book, any book (you hadn’t heard of)

This is a parallel post to Book Hype (for want of a better word), inspired by the entries to my recent Literary Lunch competition in which entrants had to name a book they’d really enjoyed this year.  It could be any type of book, regardless of publication date. The 40 suggestions I received were too … Continue reading

Book Hype (for want of a better word)

Sometimes I commit to writing something and then think Oh shit.  I did briefly wonder if it’s possible to talk about book hype and the like without it generating cynicism and negativity, which is not the intention. I want to look at an interesting question. How do the various ways we discover books affect our … Continue reading