Some stuff I’ve done lately. A podcast: I have finally persuaded myself to listen to all the way through, while being slightly amazed at how an American twang creeps into my voice when I’m talking to Americans. Two articles for the Guardian:,,1844196,00.htmland,,1851040,00.html Part of the first was, in my mind at least, a

Seriously now

I’ve heard of teaser ads, but a teaser review seems a bit ridiculous. Apparently, there’s some massive error on the third-to-last page of my book. I’ve read and re-read it, but to no avail. Anyone who’s read the book have any ideas? Is it really bad form to contact the reviewer to ask to be put out of

“He’ll only spend it on drink”

Spent an inordinate amount of time on the tube today staring at a poster for the Killing with Kindness campaign. The general idea is to persuade people not to give money to the homeless, because “you may be helping them buy drugs that could kill them”, but instead give the money to charities which work with the

The unspeakable horror of the literary life, and other slight exaggerations

I have a favourite book about writing. It is not helpful on the process of getting yourself writing (for that read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), nor is it instructive on the writing “magic”, where to find that spark of inspiration (for that, go to the sublime Becoming a writer by Dorothea Brande). No, this is simply a

Woman’s Hour and the human experience of the transcendental

Yesterday was my first ever experience of doing radio. It was live, to 2.7m listeners (they told me this after the fact, which was a blessing) on Woman’s Hour. It’s here, but I haven’t listened to it yet – I fear that if I do I’ll be hyper-critical of my own performance and it’ll put me off

Must. Stop. Buying. Other. People’s. Books

They told me this would happen. I’ve become obsessed with my Amazon rating.I tell my editor at Penguin that I find the number interesting, she says:“*oh* no. You’re not to be phoning me every five minutes asking to know what it *means*.”I nod. *I* will never be this kind of crazy author. I will be

The quality of realness

I have a cough. And a cold. And a sore throat. So does everyone else in London, I guess. It’s just a February thing. And the thing about a cough and a cold and a sore throat is that they’re all extremely real. There’s no denying you have them when you have them. There’s all the sneezing

Time Out

There’s also this. The photograph was taken outside Deli Express on Brent Street. We wanted to go and take pictures outside the Shatnez Centre (where they check clothing to make sure it doesn’t contain any mixtures of linen and wool. Seriously.) but they weren’t too keen on the idea, even without knowing what my novel’s about. I

Oh it’s all so glamorous

Today I went to Rugby and signed 1,400 copies of my novel. It was more fun than I’d anticipated (having heard stories of writers spending three days in draughty Glasgow warehouses) but still pretty exhausting. Apparently when (a great English man of letters who shall remain nameless) does these signings, he requests a bottle of