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This category contains 28 posts

Writers on Location – Clare Atkins on Darwin, Australia

It’s always exciting when a guest post hits my inbox. The writers are here because I love their work, and the pieces invariably give a telling and enticing flavour of the writing and the book.  How they choose to go about that is entirely their call; although the Writers on Location posts often do inspire … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Kerry Hadley-Pryce on the Black Country

A record number of Summer Reads authors are joining me on the Sofa this year and most are welcome additions to the popular Writers on Location series.  This is especially true of today’s guest Kerry Hadley-Pryce, whose second novel Gamble is set in the Black Country, a part of the UK I have not encountered … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Elise Valmorbida on the Veneto, Italy

Of the many selections I’ve put together, I don’t think any have received such an enthusiastic response as my Summer Reads 2018 – many thanks for your interest, appreciation and especially for sharing it.  At a time when the role and motivation of book bloggers is (yet again) under discussion, the joy of spreading the … 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

Two Weeks in Vietnam

Last week was a brilliant start to 2018 with lots of interest in my piece on time management – I’m delighted readers found it helpful.  My blog is usually about books and writing but every year I include a couple of travelogues and this one’s about my family’s recent trip to Vietnam.  We have joined … 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

Paris Mon Amour competition – win signed advance copies

On Monday I returned from a week staying in the 5th arrondissement in Paris, a very enjoyable mix of long walks (totalling 99km, no less), art exhibitions, inspiration for my next novel, seeing friends and spending Easter weekend with my family – most of it in glorious spring weather. I’ve written many pieces about Paris and … Continue reading

Two weeks in the Western Cape, South Africa

It’s two years since I last wrote a travel piece that’s not book related, and since real life kicked in immediately following our Christmas trip, it’s taken a couple of weeks to get round to this one.  I find myself saying ‘it already seems quite distant’ and yet, like any trip I’ve ever made, I … Continue reading

To 2017 and making things happen

This is just a quick post to wish you all a very happy new year. I’ve returned invigorated from a glorious two-week burst of summer in South Africa – lots to say about the trip and since I love travel writing and it’s been a long time since I wrote about anywhere except France, next … Continue reading

Finding the Words

‘There are no words.’ ‘Speechless.’ ‘Unspeakable.’ How often have you said, read or heard one of the above this year?  They seem to encapsulate everything 2016 will be remembered for, alluding to the inadequacy of language to convey the full force of shock, outrage, disillusionment, at one event after another. The irony is that we … Continue reading