Latest Blogs

  • What connects the CIA, Somerset’s Midsomer Norton Rugby Football Club and 1970s experimental literature in Paris? Easy. The answer has to be Harry Mathews. At least, it’s easy for me, because I’m the other connection. The novelist Harry Mathews, the “American Oulipian” who died earlier this year, was an entertaining and reliable correspondent. I could expect letters in fountain pen, on heavy engraved paper, from any of his four addresses. In the early 2000s he would update me on his novel My Life in CIA: A chronicle of 1973. “Part non-fiction, part fiction”, he let me know from New York; “I have a feeling the French will get more of a kick out of it than my fellows here”. Back in

  • Uncovering Family Secrets I'm on at 10.00 am with Vanessa Nicolson and John de St Jorre. The programme says: 'Three writers who have uncovered truths buried in their family history discuss why families kept secrets in the past and contrast it with today where we are encouraged to be more open about family tragedies.' Early start to avoid the crush. More information and tickets here.  

  • Judging is now under way for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award. Honoured to be on the jury this year, and looking forward to discovering new authors (to me, at least) and great books. With my fellow jurors I'm expecting to read as many as 150 submissions. So far this has been a great reminder that there's always time for reading. Back to it! More information on the 2017 jury here.

  • The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard

    The Day That Went Missing is a heart-rending story as intensely personal as any tragedy and as universal as loss. It is about how we make sense of what is gone. Most of all, it is an unforgettable act of recovery for a brother.

  • The novel Acts of the Assassins is now out in the USA, but it's in disguise as The Apostle Killer. I'm not quite sure why the wonderful Melville House felt the title had to change, but they're the experts in the US market, and unlike 52% of my compatriots I haven't yet lost faith in experts. I think the word 'Killer' might have been persuasive - whatever else Acts might be, it's a killer thriller, a thriller about killers, and I can imagine the subset of readers who like that kind of thing is quite large. Lo and behold, The Wall Street Journal then picked out the title for special mention in their review: 'This is a smart, sly unpredictable

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