Book Group Report – Now in November by Josephine Johnson

This novel was our book group’s last choice made by playing Word Association Football for a while (we’re moving on to other themes for choosing books). Following on from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Johnson’s novel was also a Pulitzer Prize winner – but one we’d never heard of – having read it we’re Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist 2024

On Thursday, the longlist for the, to give it its full title, Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2024 was revealed, and as I’ve come to expect, it is an eclectic and wide-ranging list of books by young authors (written in English, and under the age of 39 – ie that of Dylan Thomas when he Read More

Book Group Report: The Promise by Damon Galgut

This was our pick from the final decade of the Big Jubilee Read, which we’ve worked through decade by decade of her late maj’s reign. In recent years, our book group has steered clear of most of the big prize-winning books–The Promise won the Booker in 2021–but we were all keen to read this one. Read More

Reading the Sunday Times Young Writer Award Shortlist

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is the UK and Ireland’s most influential prize for young writers, and the latest winner will be announced on Feb 24th, preceded by an event at Waterstones Piccadilly, chaired by Sebastian Faulks on Feb 23rd (you can buy tickets here). I’d love to go, Read More

Book Group Report – a trippy, tribey SF alt-Manchester from the 1990s

We’re nearing the end of the alphabet in our book group – we haven’t decided yet if we’ll return to the beginning or do something else when we finish. Meanwhile our ‘V is for’ book this month was a novel I was very happy to re-read. Vurt by Jeff Noon I discovered Vurt in the Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 & Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

This Thursday sees the prize ceremony for one of the most interesting prizes for young writers. Run by Swansea University, The International Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded to the ‘best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under’ – the age of Dylan Thomas at his death. After Read More

Weekend Miscellany

Well it’s been quite a week! Returning to school from furlough was a bit of a shock. I’ve been in the habit of waking up naturally at around 8, then tea and reading in bed until around 10 when Woman’s Hour starts on Radio 4 (never got on with that programme). Then a bit of Read More

Thoughts on the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Shortlist

Next week, this year’s Shadow panel for the Sunday Times / Warwick University Young Writer of the Year Award will gather electronically to pick their winner from the five books chosen this year. While it is a shame that they can’t make the trip into London to meet in person to do it, I’m sure Read More

NOT the Wellcome Prize Blog Tour – Ogawa & Metzl

As the Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates literature with health, illness and medicine themes, is on hiatus this year, Rebecca, who has chaired the shadow panel got permission to run a ‘NOT’ The Wellcome Prize event. Today it’s my turn to spotlight two books, published last year that might have been selected for this year’s Read More

The Rathbones Folio Prize: Thoughts on the Shortlist

The Rathbones Folio Prize definitely has a USP: Books are nominated by members of its Academy rather than publishers. The Folio Academy members are mostly writers and critics, nominated by the Prize Foundation or their peers and now number around 250. This leads to a rather different set of books (published in the previous year) Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blog Tour

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has become one of my favourite literary awards. It is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Swansea-born author, who died aged 39 in 1953, and the winner will receive £30,000! The longlist for Read More

Year End Review 4: Non-Fiction

I managed to increase the amount of non-fiction I read this year once again – I seem to be going up by one or two NF books per year! So in 2019 I read 33 non-fiction books (up to 25 December), making 25.3% of the total this year. Thanks to taking part in the Wellcome Read More

Book Group report: theme – ‘a recommendation’

East West Street by Philippe Sands Unusually, for a group that picks the books we read by theme – for October’s discussion, we went with a recommendation from another book group of a book that most of us would normally never have picked up. East West Street is a combination of family history during the Read More

British Book Award Shortlists

The British Book Awards run by The Bookseller are the publishing industry’s equivalent of the BAFTAs and are affectionately known as The Nibbies. They celebrate the best British writers, books, publishers and bookshops. The Books of the Year are split into the following categories with one overall winner being picked too: Fiction Debut Crime & Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist: There There by Tommy Orange

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the media tour for the Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist. Of all the diverse books on the shortlist, There There was the one that shouted out to me to read. I’m very happy to be its champion, for it’s different, timely, fascinating and an all round super read. Orange, Read More

Wellcome Book Prize – Shadow Panel Verdict

Our winner rather crept up on us! From our shadow panel conversations as we read and blogged about the official shortlist, although we all enjoyed this book, only one of the five panel members pegged it as their personal favourite. However, it scored highly enough with everyone to come out on top, beating the book Read More

Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour – Amateur

I’m delighted to be part of the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 Blog Tour. Having followed this prize closely for several years now, and participating on the Shadow panel for my second year, I can truly say that this particular literary prize has opened up my mind to consider books outside my scientific comfort zone, and Read More

Wellcome Reading #7 – Jauhar and Edelstein

Heart – A History by Sandeep Jauhar This book is the single traditional medical history/memoir to make the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist this year. Jauhar is a practising cardiologist in the USA, and he combines personal memoir of his doctor’s career and family medical notes with explaining how the heart works, patients’ stories and a Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading #6: Madness and Recovery

Mind on Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning Subtitled ‘A Memoir of Madness and Recovery’, Fanning’s book tells the story of his battle with depression and bipolar disease. The book begins, however, with an episode from several years later during which he experienced mania and delusions – this prologue, told in a stream of consciousness style, Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist Announcement

Just a short post today, but I was lucky enough to be invited to the event held at Rathbones HQ near Moorgate last night for the announcement of the Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist. Thank you to publicists FMcM. Sadly, the weather was cold, windy and drizzly – but the view from inside over the Thames Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading: #5 R&R

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottesa Moshfegh Well, it’s a while since I read a book that I disliked so thoroughly, but felt compelled to read to the end! This book is all sex and drugs, but no rock’n’roll. I’d felt put off reading it before by the ‘school of David’ painting on Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for this interesting prize (the official website is here) was announced first thing this morning. What is this trend for announcing literary shortlists at 00.00 these days? Anyway, I am rather excited by it, as I’ve read and really enjoyed three of the six titles. Without further ado, here is the shortlist, with Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading: #4 Amateur

Amateur by Thomas Page McBee McBee, a trans man, takes on the challenge of learning to box to appear in a charity match at Madison Square Gardens. Boxing, until recent years has been seen as a most masculine sport, and as he trains, McBee examines what makes a man and the interrelations between masculinity and Read More

Dylan Thomas Prize Blogtour: Folk

This prize is awarded by Swansea University for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Swansea-born author, who died aged 39 in 1953. Today is my turn on the longlist blogtour, so without further ado, let me introduce you to: Folk by Read More

Wellcome Book Prize 2019: Shadow Panel Shortlist

Since the longlist for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize was announced, our shadow panel chaired by Rebecca has been reading as many of the books as we could get our hands on. Now we’ve come up with our own shortlist. Drumroll please… In alphabetical order they are: Amateur: A true story about what makes a Read More

Wellcome Reading #3 – Turing

Murmur by Will Eaves Having read the two entries on the Wellcome Book Prize longlist that I was assigned to (see here and here), I looked to the library to find another and managed to get my hands on Oxfordshire Libraries’ only copy of Murmur. Let me say straight away, given that Alan Turing recently Read More

Wellcome Reading 2019 #2 Trauma

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein When I picked this book to read from the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2019, I had no idea what an amazing person we would meet within its pages. I just knew that it was the story of a woman who runs a trauma cleaning business in Australia, where Read More

Wellcome reading 2019 #1 – Polio

Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication by Thomas Abraham In 1988, the World Health Organisation (WHO) together with UNICEF and Rotary International launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The aim was to rid the world of the polio virus by 2000. Little did they know that it would take billions of dollars and thirty years Read More

Not one, but two longlists full of interesting books…

The International Dylan Thomas Prize Announced last week, the longlist for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is full of interesting writing – and I’ve read two of them! This prize is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Read More