To say that Alan Hollinghurst introduced me to homosexuality in 1988 may be a slightly overstated claim. As a student of a London Music Conservatoire, I thought I was pretty familiar with the gay scene. But on finding a discarded copy of The Swimming Pool Library on a tube train, my eyes were opened to a world well-beyond the camp milieu of my college Student Union. Hollinghurst’s first novel shocked and thrilled in equal measure, and despite the huge class differences between us, I felt this writer was saying something significant.Read More
The 25th anniversary edition of Owl Babies features a text in the front of the book that describes how its authors ‘touched on a timeless truth – capturing the attachment and deep affection between a mother and child with humour and tenderness.’ The back features two quotes from the authors themselves – Martin Waddell comments how the book was inspired by seeing a young child lost in a supermarket, repeating the phrase “I want my mummy” over and over again, which of course became key to the story. He adds also that he hopes he has reassured each child who reads it that their fears are reasonable, and that their loved ones will always be there for them. Illustrator Patrick Benson, meanwhile, talks about the challenge of creating a world that was ‘realistically dark, but ultimately unthreatening’, and about helping to abate a child’s fear of the night and reassure them that their mum will always be there. Judging by the fact that the book has shifted four and a half million copies since its initial publication in 1992, and was subsequently adapted as a short animation for the Channel 4 Schools show ‘Rat-a-tat-tat’, they have clearly succeeded in their aims.Read More
Award-winning Edinburgh-based illustrator Alice Melvin has chosen to mark ten years of her relationship with the Tate Gallery by releasing Treasure Hunt, a keepsake activity book aimed squarely at the over fives. It’s a charming little collection of activities that your child is sure to love, particularly during the autumn and winter months.Read More
A few pages into the reading of this book I had to pause to Google “Whatever happened to the speech mark?” This ever-increasing trend seems difficult to avoid, and Bloomsbury are right on it throughout this latest offering from the publishing giant. (Incidentally, Google came up with the answer that forfeiting inverted commas makes the speech more immediate and direct. Whatever, I’m just going to make this sentence more direct by leaving out the full stop)Read More
The story of a new baby disrupting a household is given a new spin by the New York Times best-selling Sally Lloyd-Jones. This book is lavishly illustrated by David Roberts – readers might be more used to seeing Roberts’ name as the author and illustrator of the hugely successful Dirty Bertie series.Read More
On a glistening, crisp, mid-September afternoon, Edinburgh had the glorious reminder that the Edinburgh International Book Festival is not just for one month and one month only. Thanks to Booked!, EIBF’s on the road, all year round event schedule, the city was graced with Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk, who discussed his latest novel, The Red-Haired Woman, with Literary Editor and author, Stuart Kelly. It was quickly established to the audience by his friendly and chatty ease on stage that Pamuk is a man every inch as witty and charming as his books.Read More
Prior to last year, Philippe Sands was perhaps best known as the barrister who laid out a methodical take-down of the British government’s legal case for war in Iraq. In 2005’s Lawless World, Sands displayed a extensive knowledge of international law and legal history, something he would call upon again for the 2016 Baillie Gifford prize-winner East West Street. It is this latest book, a legal history-cum-memoir, which has brought him true international renown, and which drew a sold-out audience to hear him speak at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.Read More
Sophie Snell’s had quite the summer with a Bath Novel Award and more recently the York Festival of Writing Friday Night Live Award with her story, The Pear Drum.
With such accolades under her belt, Sophie spoke to The Fountain about York’s Festival of Writing, how setting is key to this novel and her transition from management consultant to novelist.
Kaite Welsh is the author of The Wages of Sin (2017, Tinder Press), a historical crime novel following the exploits of Sarah Gilchrist, a medical student with a murky past. When Sarah believes one of her patients, a prostitute, has been murdered, she knows she is the only one willing to discover the killer. She must navigate the highest echelons of Edinburgh society and the depths of its slums, facing mockery, violence and misogyny along the way, before she can solve the crime.Read More
What’s the biggest challenge facing the editor of an iconic comic book? Steve MacManus and his successor David Bishop, both of whom were long-standing editors of British institution 2000AD, agreed that it was having to act as a buffer between firebrand creators and profit-obsessed management.Read More
Promoting his new YA title, Release, Patrick Ness made it to Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss not writing chosen kid narratives, mental health and a refreshing approach to writing for teenagers. The highly acclaimed and award-winning author spoke at the book festival to an audience of fans allowing them to engage with him on a Q&A level and get a better sense of this new title.Read More
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