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The Write Stuff

In search of a January day out in London on a shoestring, we took a trip to the British Museum to view the Staffordshire Hoard, accompanied by dozens of sticky-fingered kids who had already left their marks on the two glass cases. Whilst I am sympathetic to the lobby for the retention of the find…
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Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy

Who clears up afterwards?

Christmas arrived late last year…

For all those of you who are in the midst of Christmas preparations, a reminder that Christmas arrived late last year. It didn’t require a fanfare, or cards, presents, wrapping paper or tinsel. It was a day when the schools were closed but the pubs and parks were full. Families spent time together. Adults remembered what it felt…
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Seasick Steve

I don’t know what it says about the current state of the music industry that the nation has taken Seasick Steve to their hearts. Brixton Academy was busier than I have ever seen it before, some of the audience being of the too young to buy watered-down beer variety. But, afterall, this is a man who…
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Sadie Jones at the Wimbledon Bookfest

It was a rotten Wednesday evening to be dragged out on: dark by six o’clock and relentlessly wet. The whole population of London had simulatiously forgotten how to drive and parking in Wimbledon Town centre – well, you could forget it! As I stood at the door of Waterstones on ticket collection duty, it seemed…
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Kamila Shamsie at the Wimbledon Bookfest

Kamila Shamsie is not the sort of speaker I had been hoping to see this week. She was frighteningly accomplished. Perhaps she should be. The author of five published novels, she is six years younger than me. By my rather crude calculations, she must have had her first novel published when she was in her mid-twenties….
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Withdrawal symptoms

What a relief it is to be back on line after a week with no email or internet access! They say that the need to check your emails is like an addiction. I have felt completely stranded. So what were these communications that I was so anxious that I was missing out on? News of…
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Alison Weir at Wimbledon Bookfest

It seemed very appropriate for Alison Weir, historian and now historical novelist, to hold her talk at Southside House, which is described, quite accurately it seems, as charmingly eccentric. Surrounded by heavy gilt-framed portraits and antiques, Alison gave her talk in the dim lighting of the music room. Although my view was obscured by a pillar, I was thoroughly…
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Wimbledon Bookfest

I hope you will forgive a little plug for my home town’s book festival, Wimbledon Bookfest, which takes place from 3rd – 11th October. The festival is launched with a community event in St Mark’s Place in the town centre on Saturday 3rd. Although the theme of this year’s festival is Darwin, one of the highlights…
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Radio 4 Bookclub

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a recording of Radio 4’s Bookclub and to put questions to Linda Grant, author of When I Lived in Modern Times, which won the Orange Book Award in 2000. Linda spoke beautifully, so much so that she had answered most of the questions on my list…
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