Twelve protagonists? Why not?

Recently an author-friend of mine said a novel she’d written had been refused by a publisher because there were four central protagonists, which they said was three too many. There is a template in romantic comedy that requires one heroine, someone with a problem that needs to be solved, one handsome male who might do …

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Some of the great books I’ve read this summer…

I’ve read several good books over the summer months. Choosing from a wide range of genres and topics, here are seven books I’ve really enjoyed for a variety of reasons and I recommend them all. The list is random – there is no rank order implied. J   Le Vieux, Biographie d’un Youyou. Azzedine Grimbou …

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Huge thanks to Toni Morrison for my torchlight tremors

It is always sad to read that a longstanding heroine has passed away. For years, when asked ‘Who’s your favourite author?’ I’d answer ‘Toni Morrison’, seconds before I wondered if I should have said ‘Jeanette Winterson’ or ‘Cormac McCarthy’. But Toni Morrison was always the first name on my lips. So when I heard that …

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Three recommended books to celebrate International Romani Day

 It’s long been a belief of mine that kids of all ages should see themselves reflected in and represented by the curriculum taught in schools. Too often novels and historical books can inadvertently leave out groups of people so that many learners never find people like themselves in aspects of their own education. Of course, …

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Pausing to think about The Stopping Places

I read Damian Le Bas' book The Stopping Places in two days. It's the sort of book that should be available everywhere, on all shop bookshelves, in libraries, schools and universities, and widely read. It offers a first-hand account about the Romani people, the culture and their experiences in society, in history and in the …

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Three excellent novels I’ve just read all prove that Larkin was right.

I've just read three novels, all literary fiction, which are really enjoyable and memorable, albeit for different reasons. Whether you just like a profound and meaningful  narrative, or whether you're inspired as a writer by well-conceived and well-written novels, there three are highly recommended. We are all Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, is …

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