Category Archives: Uncategorized

John Clare, gardener and writer; and Bloom & Wild

In this strange spring and early summer of ours, where March’s snow, frost and ice stopped all plant growth and May’s hot days and tropical rainstorms encouraged it wildly, I’ve been wondering how many writers worked as gardeners. I only found … Continue reading

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Teaching kids to fall in love with science (a different kind of love for Valentine’s day); and things to do with rubbish

I was noodling around on the internet wondering what I was going to post about this month when I discovered Arvind Gupta. He won the Padma Shree on 26 January (India’s Republic Day) for his work in literature and in education, … Continue reading

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A new writing resolution; and a new (to me) altruistic way of advertising

I’ve made a new writing resolution: I will not allow the confusing complexity, the sheer size and the constantly changing, shifting nature of a novel’s first draft to eclipse the excitement I felt when its guiding idea first electrified me. I. Will. Not. … Continue reading

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Laurie Lee’s A Village Christmas, and other things

I read about Laurie Lee’s A Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year at dovegreyreader’s wonderful blog early in November and I’m hoping it will end up under our tree this year. I’ve already bought it for several friends.A perfect book … Continue reading

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Just When … will we do something?

Just published by the wonderful Beautiful Books, is this volume of short stories: Inspired by Kipling’s Just-So Stories, the Just When Stories focus on the animals we need to protect today. There are stories about turtles and cranes, seahorses and … Continue reading

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Thursday last …

… on Thursday last I gave my second novel, whose working title is Hope Remains, to my agent. And now I feel oddly bereft. I have become so used to spending my days immersed in the sadnesses and joys of … Continue reading

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The Man Booker Shortlist

So here they are: Aravind Adiga The White TigerSebastian Barry The Secret ScriptureAmitav Ghosh Sea of PoppiesLinda Grant The Clothes on Their BacksPhilip Hensher The Northern ClemencySteve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole Two first novels have made the shortlist, … Continue reading

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Old work, new work

While staring through the window and dreaming about my new novel (and doing some planning) I find images from my first novel stealing into my mind. I ask myself if that’s because I’m afraid of stepping into the new or … Continue reading

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Congratulations to …

… Jonathan Trigell and Boy A on becoming THE Book to Talk About, 2008. (Press release here.) And thank you to everyone who voted for Speaking of Love. It has been a privilege for the book to be on the … Continue reading

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It’s a little bit funny …

… this feeling inside. The rest of Elton John’s song doesn’t apply, but today is a day when it’s difficult to concentrate because I’m feeling a bit funny inside and I’m not even trying to MAT: a MAT is being … Continue reading

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Book reviews … to blog or not to blog …

… is a very interesting question. And there’s a very interesting post about it all over on Vulpes Libris which I’ve only just discovered – from dovegreyreader – all about whether blogging book reviewers are the saviours of small publishers, … Continue reading

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Spread the Word some more …

On 4 February Richard Lea listed, on the Guardian Unlimited’s Arts Blog, the ten books on the Spread the Word shortlist under the heading: ‘What Goes into a “Book to Talk About”?’ Then he wonders why ‘the Kennedys, Enrights, Adichies … Continue reading

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The short story that was a novel …

… is a draft away from finished, but I can’t post it here because one of the competitions that I am going to submit it to requires that it has not been published in ANY form. So I shall hear … Continue reading

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Another new first page …

… this is how it goes. Slowly. But here is a redrafted first page for the short story that was a novel. *** I drift from place to place and from year to year with such ease, now. But, despite … Continue reading

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The novel that was a short story, part 202

The beginning that I posted here on Monday isn’t as good as I thought it was when I posted it … but that happens all the time. The trick is to write on: and that’s what I’m doing. Cafe solo … Continue reading

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The short story that was a novel, part 201

After what seems like years, but has really only been weeks, of editing my head off, I find myself with a jewel of a day (today) when the paid editing has gone away, at least for a day, and so, … Continue reading

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The short story that was a novel, part 200

Hmmm … even though I’ve written that my relationship with my writing has changed, see here, I haven’t actually done any writing since then to test it. So how do I know it’s changed, I hear you asking? Because, just … Continue reading

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The Man Booker shortlist, first novels

So, none of the first novels longlisted made it to the Man Booker shortlist but perhaps, because this list has been so wonderfully readable (no I haven’t read them all, hardly any in fact, yet, but I’ve been reading dovegreyreader’s … Continue reading

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Orchids for Simon

I am overwhelmed. This orchid is for Simon at Stuck in a Book for his overwhelming review of Speaking of Love. See The word on … at the top on the right. Orchids, according to Clare Florists’ flower meanings are … Continue reading

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