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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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A Touch of Frost

      Conversation with my husband is quite a challenge these days. Not only does he have very little memory, short-term or long-term, but his capacity for language is shrinking too. Once the most eloquent of men, he now speaks word salad or not at all. So how to communicate with him? Some dementia…

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War on Words

Like Nora Batty I’m in battle-axe mode today. It may be the result of sitting too long doing final revisions. The blood drains down to my ankles and my brain defaults to its factory setting, i.e. irritated by little things. Such as the misuse of words. Let me be clear (as politicians love to say),…

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Interview With a Writer

Holiday’s over. The structural edit of Anyone For Seconds? just landed on my desk, although thanks to the great British Christmas/New Year shutdown I have until January to deal with it. And exactly how do I do that? What is my process? To find out, I thought I’d allow that well-known red-top journalist Larry O’Gargle…

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Identity Crisis

  First the news that the paperback of Early Birds will be out on January 11th, rather sooner than I had expected. ‘To cheer people up in the dark days,’ says my editor. ‘Always supposing they have any money to spend after Christmas,’ thinks Laurie.   People sometimes get flatteringly excited about meeting an author.…

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Artists at Work

On my recent truly whistlestop holiday in America   –  I seemed to spend a lot of time navigating New York’s Penn Station and wondering about destinations with names like Babylon and Ho-Ho-Kus  – I visited two friends who are painters by profession. Seeing them in their studios made me consider their working lives and how…

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Seconds, Anyone?

  ‘Tis done. First draft of Anyone for Seconds? is on its way to my editor and I, as is my custom after delivering a book, am leaving the country. I used to run away because I feared being unmasked at long last. The dreaded knock. The Literary Police on my doorstep. ‘Laurie Graham, we…

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