On this day, 102 years ago, many many people drowned, or froze to death, in the icy waters of the north Atlantic after RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg. My great-grandmother, Noël Rothes, was one of the lucky survivors. I wrote about her experience on the 100th anniversary of the sinking, here. But I’m sure there are many many families for whom today remains an anniversary of sadness and loss, and many of those who died on 14 April 1912 came from Southampton. In 2012 TITANIC – Southampton Remembers was broadcast and this short clip from it describes the huge losses sustained by Southampton families: 550 crew members (of 913) came from the city, a terrible loss and a frightening foreshadowing, it seems to me, of the even greater losses so many families across the land would sustain between 1914 and 1918.
On a happier note, just a week ago, SHINY NEW BOOKS launched their shiny new website. It’s the thing I would love to have invented, in a parallel universe where time is infinite and all things are possible. The site is run by four wonderful bookish literary reviewing bloggers: Simon Thomas, Annabel Gaskell, Victoria Best and Harriet Devine and this is their Spring edition. SHINY NEW BOOKS is a ‘Quarterly online magazine focusing exclusively on new and forthcoming publications that will help you decide what to read next and why.’ Go there immediately.And there is a link between Shiny New Books and the tragedy of the Titanic: SNB commissioned a piece about the writing of my second novel, The Dance of Love, for their BookBuzz section here. The Dance of Love began life as a story about my great-grandmother’s experience aboard Titanic but metamorphosed into something rather different. It will be published by buried river press on 31 July.