Interview with a hostile reader

So, while I was writing The Lessons, I tormented myself by imagining all the horrible things that reviewers would say about it. Sometimes I even wrote down a line or two, just to get them out of my head. And a couple of days ago my friend Robin sent me this, written by Gretchen Rubin of The

Taking it and liking it

Over the years since my first novel was published, I’ve had various friends, and friends of friends, and acquaintances of cousins of friends of friends of friends ask me if I would read their work and give them my ‘honest opinion’. It’s flattering to be asked, of course. And I like to try to be

Read it and weep (but, literally)

Read the incredibly powerful Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like a couple of days ago. It’s a quick read but unputdownable (that over-used publishing ersatz adjective, but really true in this case). Started reading in bed at 1am thinking I’d look at a few pages and then go to sleep, finished at

The library at the moon under water

Some internet rambling recently led me to this – an essay George Orwell wrote about his ideal, platonic perfect pub, The Moon Under Water. Apparently this is where the Moon Under Water chain took its name from, which I didn’t know. I don’t think they follow all his rules anyway! Carraway seed biscuits? And then yesterday I

Retro shopping

Remember ‘shopping’? Not for food or clothes, things which one really wants to select by sight. I mean, shopping for the perfectly-packaged, homogenous items Jeff Bezos targetted as being ideal internet-commerce stock. DVDs, books, CDs (who even buys CDs now?). I used to really enjoy that kind of shopping. I remember as a teenager (yes,

Are we nearly there yet?

You know what writing a novel’s like? It’s like waking up one morning in London and saying to yourself on a whim “hey, I know what’d be fun: walking to China! That sure would be a great place to walk to.” And you sit down with your atlas and a ruler and you say “OK,

Unaccustomed as I am

I went to a wonderful Women Novelist’s salon a little while ago, which is the sort of event that always makes me feel that I am Actually a Real Writer, and perhaps not Just Pretending. Much of the chat revolved around horrible evenings giving readings to unappreciative audiences. From what I can tell, I’ve been

but no one’s yet asked whether I write with a pen or a pencil

My paperback’s going to be published next month, so I’m back into readings-mode: going places, reading from my novel (which I finished almost two years ago now, I’ve pretty much forgotten what it’s about, all I have is the memory of the other times I’ve described it), answering questions. Which leads me to this rather

Friday, November 3, 2006 at 01:27 PM

Spent last night in Dublin at the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award, for which I had been nominated in the ‘fiction’ category but did not win. It’s interesting, not winning – it felt different to how I expected. I would have thought I’d’ve been disappointed, at least a bit, but in fact I wasn’t really.

And another thing in which I appear in a discussion about The Short Story. I’d had a terrible day before we taped this, there’d been a huge accident on the North Circular which jammed up most of north west London and meant that 10-minute journeys suddenly took two hours. (Although, to be fair, I’m sure I’d had