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A Three Hundred Mile Hop

Nizhni Novgorod was the furthermost point of my Russian trip before I turned for home. Four hours by train from Moscow, which to Russian minds is a mere hop and a jump. I had no literary agenda there, though from 1932 until the collapse of the Soviet Union the city was renamed Gorky, after its…

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And Then, Melikhovo

I began to despair of seeing Anton Chekhov’s country house because its administrators suddenly announced that on my appointed day they were closing for spring-cleaning. But there was a quick shake-up of my itinerary and off I set, wedged between two Sumo-sized Russians in steaming raincoats for the fifty minute train ride to Chekhov. I…

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More Notes from Russia

There’s plenty of a literary flavour to keep a person entertained in Moscow. In just one morning I visited Chekhov’s apartment   –  his name plate is still on the door and I’ll show you if ever I manage to wrestle the photo from my phone  –  and Bulgakov’s, and then I sat in the…

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Notes from Russia

I’ve been travelling, hence the long silence. As many around me fall sick or grow too frail to haul luggage I decided to leave my comfort zone for a couple of weeks and scratch my itch for Russia while I still can. It was a very personalised trip. No-one else I know would have drawn…

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On Your Marks

First of all, thanks to my team of advance reader volunteers. Proof copies are on their way to you. I should  have supplied you with motivational T shirts. I wish I’d thought of it. Hindsight again, Laurie. Very clever. Next, the somewhat alarming news that Dot Allbones has taken her bid for freedom from authorial…

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Now Recruiting

Yes, once again it’s that time in my publishing year. Anyone For Seconds? will be out in August, page proofs have been corrected and bound proofs will be available later in the spring, so I’m looking for volunteers to read the book in advance and, if they enjoy it, to buy a copy for a friend…

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Now Read On….

I recently heard a podcast about what Russians consider the best books ever. First place, no prizes for guessing, was War and Peace, and nipping at Tolstoy’s heels, wait for it….. Harry Potter. I love hearing Russians talk about Harry because they call him Gary. They’re also very keen on Sherlock Holmes, whom they call…

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Jolly Super Stories

A costume SOS this morning from one of my daughters. My granddaughter has decided she wishes to go to her school’s National Book Day dressed as Anne from the Famous Five books. Anne? Great heavens. She’s the one who not only makes sure they leave their campsite as they found it but probably runs a…

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Sleeping with Dr Chekhov

I’m currently sleeping with Anton Chekhov. By which I mean, I try to stay awake for at least half an hour after assuming the recumbent position so I can re-read some more of A Life in Letters.  Chekhov never wrote his autobiography  –  dying at the age of 44 he hardly had time  –  but…

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Have You Seen This Woman?

It’s happened again.  I went off for a Christmas break, came home and discovered that one of my characters has broken out and made a bid for an independent life. It happened a couple of years ago when Nellie Buzzard and Morphew legged it out of A Humble Companion and turned up at the Chiswick Literary…

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