A brief guide to the London Book Fair

A brief guide to the London Book Fair

Olympia London, 12–14 March 2019 It’s nearly that time again! In just over a week, we’ll all be cramming ourselves back into the Olympia Exhibition Centre opposite Kensington Olympia station for the London Book Fair. This will be my fifth year at LBF, and although I’m probably still fairly new to it compared to many publishing veterans, I’d like to think I’m starting to get the hang of things a bit! So I’ve put together some tips for translators and…

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Review of ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

Review of ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

I picked up Home Fire in my local library, quite a while after it was first published (in 2017) and several months after it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018. But there was (and is) still plenty of hype surrounding this book, which meant that it was still on my radar, and when it was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter who I know has a similar taste to me I decided it was time to…

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Review of ‘The Courier’ by Kjell Ola Dahl

Review of ‘The Courier’ by Kjell Ola Dahl

Last week was a very exciting one for me. Because… I got my first book post since starting my new blog! And it was particularly special for me, as the book was none other than The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books. I haven’t read anything by Dahl before (though I’m sure that will change!) but I knew as soon as I saw Orenda tweeting about it that this…

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Carry the Music in Your Heart

Carry the Music in Your Heart

Stasha’s footsteps echoed as she walked along the road towards what once had been her home. Everything else faded into the background, the world almost silent except for the lonely beating of the borrowed shoes that pinched her toes with every step. But the pain in her feet was barely noticeable. She could think of nothing but the family who should be by her side, the mother, father, sisters who would never walk this road again. The houses lining the…

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By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

The moon is bright tonight, illuminating the ripples on the surface of the lake. The waves lap gently against the boat as the water settles. It was over pretty quickly really; he didn’t struggle or make much noise. It wasn’t my first time, after all. I head back to the shore and prepare for the inevitable fuss. I splash water onto the blanket before wrapping it round my shoulders. I shake out my hair and concentrate for a moment until…

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Review of ‘Red Snow’ by Will Dean

Review of ‘Red Snow’ by Will Dean

We’re in Sweden, in the small town of Gavrik. It’s the middle of winter, in the depths of the forest, and there’s barely a sliver of daylight. It’s cold, and the trees are cloaked in a heavy blanket of snow. But none of this can deter Tuva Moodyson, the deaf reporter we all got to know and love in Will Dean’s first book, Dark Pines. Tuva is a kick-ass character, down-to-earth, slightly flawed and just utterly human. And she’s determined…

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Citizen of Nowhere

Citizen of Nowhere

I’m sitting at the gate, waiting for boarding to start. Well, I’m waiting for the plane to arrive so that boarding can start. In a truly wonderful feat of organisation, the gate number was called before the plane got here, so now I’m sitting on my suitcase, one of hundreds of sardines trapped in an overcrowded tin. Every flight is overbooked, tempers are frayed. Too many people don’t want to be here, don’t want to be going ‘home’. I haven’t…

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Review of ‘The Chalk Man’ by C. J. Tudor

Review of ‘The Chalk Man’ by C. J. Tudor

The Chalk Man has been on my radar for a long time, with lots of bloggers and readers and other writers shouting about it on Twitter. So I was very pleased to find a copy in my local library and to finally sit down and read it over the Christmas holiday. It’s a great package, with a very eerie cover and probably the best spine I’ve ever seen (there’s no title or author’s name, only a bunch of creepy chalk…

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Review of ‘Mischling’ by Affinity Konar

Review of ‘Mischling’ by Affinity Konar

‘While she talked, I hummed in my mind so I didn’t have to hear what she said. I hummed “Blue Danube” till its blueness began to cloak my thoughts, but even this blueness wasn’t enough to drown out the whole story.’ Let me start by saying that Mischling is without doubt one of the best books I read in 2018. I picked it up in Oxfam a while ago, drawn in by the blurb on the back cover (I wrote…

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On Linguistic and Cultural Desires

On Linguistic and Cultural Desires

This post was first written in October 2017, and was inspired by a Nordic literature event at the Southbank Centre in London. In October 2017, I went to an event at the Southbank Centre called ‘Dangerous Desires’, featuring Norwegian writer Hanne Ørstavik and Finnish writers Kati Hiekkapelto and Jussi Valtonen. Part of the Nordic Matters series of events that has been taking place all year, and part of the annual Southbank Literature Festival too, this particular panel talk looked at…

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