List of posts


Handles by Jan Mark: A Carnegie Medal Winner


The tenth (writing) commandment, according to ‘Mslexia’

Outrageous Brownies


Queen of the surf: not yet

JULY 2013

No ‘problems’ only ‘solutions’

‘Utilize’ when should you use it?


JUNE 2013

Sarah Lightman’s ‘The Book of Sarah’



The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

MAY  2013

Somerset Maugham and Marta Hillers believed in the Writing Cure

The Writing Cure

The writer and social media

How much will people pay for an ebook?

How can I support my writing habit?

APRIL 2013

Who are all these authors?

Mel Sherratt and Tim Cooke talk about self-publishing on Kindle at the London Book Fair 2013

Are Bookstores here to stay?

At the AuthorLounge, The London Book Fair 2013: How to get a literary agent

The Authorlounge in Earls Court 2 at the London Book Fair

Judging Books by the Spine

Do Granta, Vintage and Penguin weigh their words?

That’s the stuff! A note on Adriana Hunter’s translation of ‘Beside the Sea’ by Veronique Olmi

Is Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen a literary thriller?

MARCH 2013

One suit attends mass four times on a Sunday morning: Mass-going in Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s

‘Beside the Sea’ by Veronique Olmi

Jane Austen’s advice, applied to ‘Untimely Death’ by Cyril Hare: 3 to 4 families in the Country the very thing to work on

Writing is not typing

Have Myriad Editions, Peirene and Persephone a place in the world of publishing?

What might Jane Austen have said to Elizabeth Bowen about  ‘The Heat of the Day’: A writer must be wary of introducing circumstances of apparent consequence which lead to nothing

Please respect that this is a Barbie-free zone: Does the world need any more plastic?

Why have the English and the Irish made such a poor thing of tea?

What is the matter with Cyril Hare’s Frank Pettigrew (‘Tragedy at Law’)?


Don’t sink below the Whipple Line: Virago would not publish Dorothy Whipple, Persephone did

Elizabeth Taylor still, after all these years, the best known unknown writer: Rediscovering writers

The impossibility of the puzzle-type crime novel: writing crime novels

Is  there anyone who has not seen a copy of ‘The Private Lives of Pippa Lee’ in a North London charity shop?

If a sense of humour is like a piano keyboard, then mine has two dud notes, farce and black comedy: Looking at ‘The Journeying  Boy’  by Michael Innes

The CWA’s top 100 crime novels reconsidered

How would Jane Austen have fared in a creative writing class?

Is the road to self-publishing too long, lonely and expensive?

For how many modern novels, could you answer “yes” to  Philip Larkin’s four questions?


You love Persephone Books, is your taste exactly the same as Nicola Beauman’s?

Called to account for reading defalcations

Never say ‘Never again!’

Bat out of Hell by Francis Durbridge

Pure artist though he was Henry James was keen to be paid for his work: In search of a remunerated pen

When Hibernian and Albion obliquity meet American directness

A masterclass from Jane Austen

The slush pile, a slippery slope?

Be prepared to be trivialised and marginalised

Anthony Trollope’s way: three hours a day of literary labour should produce three three-volume novels a year


Reculer pour mieux sauter

French manners: one word that makes the whole world kin

Jane Austen proposes Emma to her literary agent

Kingsley Amis on the King’s English

When white looks blacker than black

The Ghost of Self-Publishing Future

What Mary might have said

In the days when crime did not pay as well

DIY self-publishing?

the Big Give

Why don’t you self-publish?

Self-publishing, an option?

Penalties for using plastic bags


Errors in writing that can be so difficult to avoid

Penalties for using plastic bags

Euphony: such an essential part of good writing

Mad, like Flaubert?

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: Charity Christmas Cards

The Siren Call: What Edith Wharton resisted when writing Ethan Frome

A Children’s Year Book

Writing Competitions: If you are not in, you can’t win


Mistress Anne Herbert at home in the Tower of London

A writer’s snag list: wresting with the gaze

The Apostrophe: deeper waters

The apostrophe

The durability of ‘I don’t do’

What sort of English does George Orwell liken to prefabricated Hen-House?

Literary agents

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