Oct 22

October 22, 2016


Bonjour across the Channel… the French edition is here

My schoolgirl A-level French was put through its paces and told to run around the schoolyard when the first review for the French edition pinged its way across the internet. Ah, such strong memories of reading Bonjour Tristesse and L’Etranger in classrooms and my French teacher saying coupable on repeat in her strong Irish accent as I stared out of the fenetre. The reaction seems fort and I’m planning now to refer to myself officially as an auteur, which sounds…

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Aug 25

August 25, 2016


A Dictionary wins the WHSmith readers’ poll

I’m completely chuffed to reveal my debut novel has been named the winner of the Richard and Judy book club summer list. I have to confess I told friends: ‘If you don’t mind an exercise in futility then please vote for the book.’ Given the million-selling authors on the list I wasn’t holding my breath. What a delight! And the good news is this will hopefully help other debut writers to make it on to the list in future years as it…

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Aug 24

August 24, 2016


Author signings: Punting books at Heathrow Airport

6.30am: Glasgow Airport Have you seen the floaters at the airport? Those men and women who glide through the concourse in crease-free, elegant clothes, their hair and skin glowing with wealth, destination unknown but more likely to be a yacht rather than a council estate. I only ask because I wonder if the guards shout at them in the same manner as they do to the rest of us, dressed in our comfy travelling clothes, our ankles already puffing and…

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Aug 9

August 9, 2016


Nagasaki 71 years on: The nuclear threat remains

Taniguchi Sumiteru bears the scars of Nagasaki, rubber keloids and deep indentations, the pain a constant reminder along with the memory of that day. He spent nearly four years lying on his stomach in hospital, the flesh on his back burned away, raw muscle exposed. The pain was so excruciating, he told author Susan Southard, he begged the nurses to let him die. When she interviewed him for her magnificent book Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, she asked him what memories from…

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Aug 4

August 4, 2016


Ten things I’ve learned as a debut novelist

If you’re thinking about writing your first book, or you’re in the middle of a draft, or on the cusp of publication, congratulations. A blank page is one of the most exciting places to find yourself. One filled with words is awesome too. You’re probably so busy thinking about the plot, characters and story, you’ve not given much consideration to marketing, publicity, reviews or how it will feel to have your book out there in the world. Here’s what I learned… Unless…

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