Latest Blogs

  • This piece was commissioned by the ILS as part of the 'Crossing Borders' series. To Live Outside the Law You Must be Honest An April bank holiday Monday, and I plan to go across the border somewhere in the south-west of England. I don’t know the exact place, but between Newbury and Bath the Kennet and Avon canal stretches fifty-odd miles over the English countryside. My border point will be the 60 foot narrowboat Eve, which has a continuous cruising licence, meaning that every fortnight it has to move. My friend Drusilla Marland, who lives on Eve, is hard to pin down... Read full text here.

  • This is a fantastic festival, and probably the only event for book-lovers where you can see Roman legionnaires riding on a Sherman tank. I'll be talking about the research for The Day That Went Missing, and how family history also counts as History. More details here.

  • “If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” A definition of terms is the boring, necessary foundation to any philosophical debate, and is equally relevant to appreciating this book. In the title the publishers have chosen to pick out “win” in Knowing the Score, but David Papineau, a professor of the philosophy of science, isn’t offering a new and unlikely marginal gain in the quest for sporting victory. Nor is his book an ambitious attempt to mesh the universal cogs of theoretical philosophy and sport..." This book review was in the Times on April 22 and the full text is available here, possibly behind the paywall unless you never look at the Times, in which case you

  • I was asked to write an Opinion piece for the Observer about reaction to the publication of The Day that Went Missing, including my own reaction to having written a memoir. How does it feel once it's out there? What was the point? 'Now I’m faced with the question of what happens next. What is a memoir actually for? There seems to be a lot of memoir about, but I can only speak for myself and wordsearching the typescript I discover the book contains 434 instances of the word Nicholas or variants. I have filled the pages with Nicky, with Nick-Nack, Nickelpin, Pinwin, all my brother’s various rescued nicknames. His solo photograph in beach-tinted Kodacolor is bold on a hardback

  • I'll be on the island of Guernsey for the weekend in May of the literary festival. On the Friday I'm talking about my new book The Day That Went Missing, while on the Saturday I'll be doing my Public Edit on two prose submissions picked at random from members of the audience. The details of how to submit are on the GLF website, as is the full programme, including my attempt to keep a panel of amateur cricketing writers in order on the Sunday. The Authors CC cricket club will also be playing two games of cricket against tough local opposition - no doubt to provide material for epic sagas yet to be written.

  • This is a new piece that I wrote for the Guardian family section. It's based on a photo that gets a mention in The Day That Went Missing, but the book wasn't the time or place for the full story of what that photo demonstrated or made me feel. 'For most of my life, and I’m 50 now, one piece of information about my brother had blocked all others. “Dead” became the barrier; a restraining wall. Nicky’s deadness became his defining characteristic, although he must have had others: he was nine when he drowned. I was 11, his closest brother by age, but to contain the grief I had dismissed his character as provisional. He was a child. Now he