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Winter Newsletter 2011

Each year I am struck by the way Christmas is 'made' to happen. An act of collective, steely determination by a species determined to find something to help it through the winter. Each year I resist, through gritted teeth, then succumb. I am at the point of starting to succumb now. I have made a batch of mince pies. I have written two thirds of my Christmas cards. I have bought scores of presents…

Saturday 1st January, 2011 | undefined min read

Autumn Newsletter 2011

For me there are very distinct cycles in the production of a novel: the thinking bit, the scribbling a few notes bit, the grab-it-by-the-throat-and-start bit, the press-on-even-though-it-feels-impossible bit, then the final strait, when you know the end is in sight but try not to look at it too hard for fear of rushing, or losing your nerve or indeed doing anything to undermine all the hard graft…

Tuesday 11th October, 2011 | undefined min read

Finding My Voice

The most dispiriting aspect of growing older is the loss of that once taken-for-granted luxury of getting better at things. Sport, memory, eyesight – even tiddlywinks will become a challenge in the end. Adapting with grace is of course the way forward. My late father managed this brilliantly, moving, as the years passed, from being a keen, cunning tennis player, to a competitor of equal guile on…

Friday 21st January, 2011 | undefined min read

Under One Roof

During the dark days of early motherhood I sometimes used to console myself that in a mere eighteen years it would all be done with: weaned, potty-trained, educated, my two sons would give us a cheery wave and trot off, as I once had, to busy independent lives, first as students, too hectic for visits home in the holidays, then as working cogs in the wheels of their first jobs, paying rent on some…

Saturday 25th June, 2011 | undefined min read