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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 320 posts for The Literary Sofa

Books *and* Box Sets, not Either/Or

Literary culture (as in: everything to do with books) is under threat.  Libraries are closing, media coverage is shrinking, book prizes and literacy initiatives like Quick Reads (please somebody save Quick Reads) struggle and disappear, most authors earn next to nothing.  Will Self has a regular gig on the Death of the Novel.  As an author, … Continue reading

Guest Author – Louise Walters on Writing in a young person’s voice

This week is a first and a third! I’m really delighted to welcome Louise Walters as the first author ever to appear on the Literary Sofa three times (links to her previous posts are included below).  Louise has been a loyal supporter of the blog since it started over six years ago, we have got … Continue reading

Guest Author – Michael Dean on Fictionalising the Life of a Famous Artist   

As readers most of us have fictional themes or settings we especially enjoy.  The art world is undoubtedly one of mine, just as visiting exhibitions and galleries is one of my favourite pastimes, both here in London and on my travels.   Often I find the stories behind the works and the lives of the artists … Continue reading

A Week in Marseille

I’ve recently returned from a glorious week in Marseille staying with my lifelong friend G, the younger daughter of my French godmother (my own French story is here, and it’s a long one…)  This isn’t a full-on travel post as it wasn’t a holiday as such, although you could be forgiven for thinking so – … Continue reading

Guest Author – Ruth Figgest on writing about mothers and daughters

This week I am delighted to be hosting a debut novelist with an exceptional track record: Ruth Figgest, who was born in Oxford and grew up in the USA, has been short-listed an incredible six times for the Bridport Prize – she was awarded 2nd place in 2012 and was Highly Commended in 2017.  Her debut … Continue reading

Book Review – A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney

Last year this book caught my eye for several reasons, not least the beautiful cover which also graces the new paperback edition I finally got around to reading.  A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney uncovers the ‘hidden friendships’ between Jane Austen and family governess Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontë and former schoolfriend … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Alicia Drake on Paris as a longterm ex-pat

Hosting today’s guest author and featuring her debut novel, another of my Spring Sofa Spotlight titles, feels like a special occasion and not only because until now I’m the only one who’s written about Paris here. That was destined to change the moment Alicia Drake stood up to read from I love you too much … Continue reading

Guest Author – Claire Dyer on Research and Imagination

Last week’s Spring Sofa Spotlight met with great enthusiasm and lots of my favourite feedback: that people discovered books they may not otherwise have heard of and can’t wait to read.  Thank you for the appreciation and for helping to spread the word – I wouldn’t still be running this blog if I didn’t believe … Continue reading

Sofa Spotlight – Spring 2018

Spring is in the air, I’ve been reading (as always) and it’s time for my latest selection of recommended new releases.  Narrowing it down is never easy – I’ve enjoyed far more than I can include, especially as there were many with overlapping themes. There’s huge variety amongst the ten which stood out (and I … Continue reading

Quick Reads 2018

This is a quick post about the launch of Quick Reads 2018 from The Reading Agency, a selection of six short books (only £1!) by bestselling authors which are aimed at less confident adult readers or anyone who wants a cracking story but is short on time.  There are so many reasons I’m keen to … Continue reading