Reading & Writing

Fiction Becomes Fact

Reader Karen Pinder has named her little girl after a character in my novel ‘Calabash’, which is a compliment I’ve never had before. The story tells how a boy with too much imagination, trapped in an English seaside town, finds his way to ancient Persia via a portal at the end of the town’s pier, […]

New eReader Concept

Mike Cane sends me details of a new prototype eReader from Asus that comes in different sizes and is full colour. So, are we meant to have one at home, one for the office, another for the train? It’s getting silly now. I recently took one on a flight, but we weren’t allowed to use […]

Keith Waterhouse Dies

One of my great heroes, Keith Waterhouse, the creator of Billy Liar, died at home today, aged 80. Billy Liar is the UK’s Catcher In The Rye, a tour-de-force with a still-startling punchline. A massive success, the book spawned a sequel, a hit film, a TV series and even a stage musical with a score […]

From Thunderer to Fish Wrapper

Send the children out to play and read the following: ‘I felt sexy and empowered in my slinky nightgown. Sauntering over to Bernie, I perched on top of him. I was straddling his legs as I kissed his lips gently. It turned me on that he was secure enough to let a woman take the […]

What The Hell I’m Up To

I’ve been asked to give a few clues about my upcoming books, at least two of which seem to have ‘Hell’ in the title. So here’s what I’m up to. Shortly after Christmas ‘Paperboy’ becomes ‘paperback’, and there’ll certainly be one more Bryant & May, already delivered. But I’ll also be rediscovering my roots with […]

Writers’ Houses

Mary Tribble writes to me pointing out that Edith Wharton lived in Hyeres, so I visited the house, an astonishing cubist building of immense grace and calm, overlooking the city, the sea and the islands beyond. Sadly the gardens don’t seem to be looked after as carefully as they once were. The house only opens […]

There’s Always A Dan Brown

Visitors who stay in my house always leave behind books and sun oil, and there’s always a Dan Brown. The little buggers breed – I have to keep throwing them out. But there has always been a Dan Brown. Recently I read ‘Judas!’ by Peter Van Greenaway, in which the discovery of a Dead Sea […]

Summer Night Debates

I am here on a starry coastline having dinner with eight old friends, and we should probably be discussing favourite books, but instead the subject turns to the unique peculiarities that separate men and women – and it’s suggested that only men would ever produce a poo so big they would want to proudly show […]

Bookshops: The Taboo Subject

When it comes to making criticisms about bookshops, authors must tread very carefully. If they speak out, there’s a good chance that someone will be stung into making the most obvious threat; ‘Well, we won’t stock your books, then.’ We all love bookshops, so it seems churlish to complain as we might in any other […]

No Sex Please – We’re Englishwomen

A new magazine purporting to be aimed at intelligent women seeking erotica has been the subject of cockblocking by its printers. ‘Filament’ launched in the UK with pretty tame coverage of men, and its female readers demanded edgier nudity. But the law is vague concerned states of male arousal in mainstream magazines. Filament attempted a […]