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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 389 posts for The Literary Sofa

Two books about three women

One of the scariest things about writing is realising that you have no say over how anyone interprets or receives your work – the reader encounters any narrative through the prism of their own knowledge, beliefs and life experience. Nothing has brought this home to me more than readers seeing all kinds of interesting things … Continue reading

My Books of 2019 – Non-fiction

I’m a bit behind in posting the second part of my Books of 2019 (Non-fiction) but I’m sure you’ll let me off – it was a considerably happier than usual first week back in January with the announcement of my new novel Scent. Again, many thanks to all who sent good wishes – the response … Continue reading

Publication News – SCENT, spring 2021

For those who haven’t heard, I’m thrilled to return to the Sofa with the news that my second novel Scent will be released by independent publisher Muswell Press in spring 2021 – and for those who do know, here’s a bit more about it.  Yesterday was such an exciting and emotional day when the acquisition … Continue reading

My Books of 2019 – Fiction

Picking my books of the year is an exercise I love but it’s also a slightly weird one when I spend all year recommending titles I’ve really rated and enjoyed here on the Sofa.  They’re all excellent in their own way but those below are the ones which really wowed and touched me on a … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Dominic Brownlow on The Fens

This week I am very excited to be hosting Dominic Brownlow and his outstanding literary debut The Naseby Horses, set in his native Fenland in eastern England.  Whist his novel centres on the extremely well-travelled premise of a missing person (the teenage protagonist’s twin sister), the result is truly something else.  It has various thematic … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Helen Young on Bogotá, Colombia

In the first half of this year I hosted fewer Writers on Location posts than usual but we’re making up for that now with Linda Mannheim’s American “Happy Valley” last week and today’s guided tour of Colombia’s capital city in the company of Helen Young (and another next week, see postscript).  Helen’s second novel Breakfast … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Linda Mannheim on Western Massachusetts: ‘The Happy Valley’

Following the very welcome enthusiastic reception for my Autumn Sofa Spotlight last week, today I’m delighted to be hosting one of the authors included there – American short story writer Linda Mannheim.  Every year I come across one or two story collections which leave me reeling at what can be accomplished in the space of … Continue reading

Autumn Sofa Spotlight 2019

It’s hard to know how to introduce this year’s Autumn Sofa Spotlight, though that’s no reflection on the six fantastic books included.  When I announced I was taking a few weeks away from the blog before bringing you today’s selection, I had no idea this would coincide with the last agonising crisis in my mother’s … Continue reading

Books People Love 2019

Normally I’m the one recommending books here but once a year we switch roles. The latest Literary Lunch competition attracted a record number of entries and the fascinating and eclectic list of book recommendations below.  Entrants have to name the book they’d most enjoyed this year regardless of genre or publication date and every time … Continue reading

The notebook, the craft and the long hard graft

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone who entered the Literary Lunch competition and a big welcome to new subscribers. The number of entries topped all previous years and once again resulted in a brilliant and eclectic list of book recommendations.  Next week I’ll publish them in list form and you can join me in picking … Continue reading

My Novel – Now out in paperback