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WHAT’S IN A NAME …?

Quite a lot, it seems. In a name, that is. Juliet might have thought, in the throes of youthful passionate love at first sight, that it didn’t matter what Romeo’s name was, but readers of novels often respond differently. And writers too, of course. In the recent live Facebook interview I did with Hillingdon libraries,...

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The Potency of Cheap Music …

In Crete, despite the face masks and near deserted streets and beaches, it was possible to shut out a certain awareness of our current situation. The absence of constant media intrusion determined to present a negative and pessimistic view was thankfully absent. After all, there were no glaring headlines on the White Mountains visible from...

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WAKING TO CICADA SOUNDS

It’s very early dawn, barely the first sign of light, when the noises start – Cock-A-Doodle-Doos from a few roosters anxious to get on with the business of their day.  But they are easy to ignore and I am quickly back to sleep. Then it’s the first goat bells ringing – a less intrusive sound...

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Another Audio Blog – Enjoy!

Going to Chesham to record Chiltern Voice with Antonia Honeywell brought back many memories – because Chesham was where I began my teaching career. My first job was at Chesham High School in 1978 – an utterly exhausting, draining year as all initial – or probationary, as we used to call them – years are...

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An Audio Blog – Enjoy!

Last November, in that curious prelapsarian world where face masks had connotations of criminality and the failure to shake hands or embrace on greeting was considered impolite, I went to Chesham to be interviewed live on Chiltern Voice Radio  by writer and broadcaster, Antonia Honeywell. THE LEGACY OF MR JARVIS had just been published and...

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Those Excellent Women Writers …

It was at the wonderful bookshop in London’s  Lambs’ Conduit Street – PERSEPHONE BOOKS – where I found Noel Streatfeild’s  novel SAPLINGS and discovered that the writer we no doubt associate with childhood reading also wrote for adults. In fact, she wrote 16 novels for adults and spent her writing career publishing books for both adults...

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SUMMER FICTION

I am obsessed with weather. Both in reality and in fiction – and, in truth, in my writing. I think there must be something of the 19th century habit of pathetic fallacy in me for I find it hard to write a scene or event without linking the weather to its mood and outcome. In...

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FATHERS IN LITERATURE

On Fathers’ day considering  how fathers are represented in some of our most well-known classic novels is  irresistible. And the interesting thing is that so many are entirely absent. The orphan seems to be such a prevalent figure, after all, in 19th century literature. Jane Eyre’s father? Long gone, along with her mother, leaving her...

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And Now for the Non-Fiction …

This really is cheating the Desert Island Discs system. Not only have I swapped music for books, now I am insisting on 8 non-fiction as well as 8 novels. Last week’s selection came so easily to mind, whereas this week’s has taken a little more consideration … It is often said that men tend to...

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A Book Lovers’ Lockdown Desert Island …

You know how it goes: which 8 gramophone (they don’t actually still use that wonderfully archaic word, I don’t think, but it used to be there) records would you take to your desert island?  And lately, there’s been a variation  on the theme of a well-known (ostensibly …) person being invited to name the 8 pieces...