Sunday, 21 November 2010

Harrogate Crime Festival

The people behind the Harrogate Crime Festival have launched a new online community, You're Booked, for crime readers and writers. I'm today's guest blogger, talking about how technology killed the gumshoe detective. Please pop along and leave a comment. Thank you!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Gentleman's Relish

The new issue of The Short Review is online now. It includes my review of Patrick Gale's collection, Gentleman's Relish, which I enjoyed very much. Happy third birthday to TSR, by the way! What a great three years of reviews, interviews and stories.

Patrick is reading one of my favourite stories from the collection, Hushed Casket, at Cambridge WordFest 2010 on 27 November.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Books for everyone

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, here are my recommendations for book gifts. Lots of choices for children, because I'm always buying these sorts of books but don't often see recommendations on blogs like this. The links all lead to The Book Depository. Because I'm a bit cheesed off with Amazon right now, and we all need choices. The Book Depository has great discounts, free postage and a quick service. Happy shopping, and reading.

Mad Men: the illustrated world by Dyna Moe. Why? It has a cut-out and dress-up Joanie doll. Also a guide to dealing with the office emergency of a severed foot. For? Girlfriends, best friends, your gay husband, anyone you want to impress with your wit and vivacity.

Mr Chicken goes to Paris by Leigh Hobbs. Why? It's funny, smart and a bit bonkers. For? Toddlers, parents of toddlers who are counting the weeks until they can take their offspring abroad.

In my Patch by Sara Gillingham. Why? It's cute and tactile, with a finger-puppet mouse. For? Babies, new parents of babies.

Wash this blood clean from my hand by Fred Vargas. Why? It has the most adorable detective in the world, solving crimes that rely on intellect rather than viscera for their impact. For? Mothers-in-law, female friends, anyone who appreciates the finer things in crime.

Dogs don't do ballet by Anna Kemp. Why? It's mad as a box of squirrels. For? Five year old rebel rousers, parents of five year olds who are tired of the pinkness of ballet books.

The Small Hand by Susan Hill. Why? It's a beautiful looking book and an instant classic. For? Mothers, grandmothers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinsey. Why? It's a mixture of cartoon and story, international bestseller and very cool. For? Nine year olds with an off-beat sense of humour, kids who moan about school - they'll soon see how good they've got it.

Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut. Why? It's a dialogue between two of the world's greatest directors, with storyboard-style stills from all the famous Hitchcock films. For? Fathers, brothers, film buffs of all ages.

Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton. Why? I defy anyone not to love these books. Wild, wacky and the best fun to read out loud. For? Kids that don't like reading, or being read to. They'll break through the barrier, I guarantee it.

Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins. Why? Because the undead have feelings too. For? Young teens who spend too much time in their rooms. At least this way you'll know what they're doing - reading this book.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

National Short Story Week

I'm very excited to be a part of National Short Story Week, reading one of my stories at Blackwell's in Bristol on Wednesday 24 November. Do come along if you can. Organiser and MC for the evening, is Tania Hershman. Special guest is Vanessa Gebbie.

Blackwell's, Park Street, Bristol

A Celebration of the Short Story

Wednesday, 24th November, 6pm– 8pm

A great short story can do something no other form can. It has been described as "an apocalypse in a very small cup", a complete world that you are immersed in for only the time it takes to drink a cup of tea or wait for a bus but one which may remain in your mind for far, far longer. It can make you laugh or cry, terrify and delight you, all in the space of a few pages - or even less!

Come and celebrate the short story with readings by local writers Tania Hershman, Sarah Hilary, Anna Britten, Louise Gethin, Pauline Masurel, Nicholas Rawlinson, Ursula Wills-Jones, Margot Taylor and Alan Toyne, and special guest, award-winning short story writer Vanessa Gebbie, whose second collection, Storm Warning, has just been published. And read your own stories in the open mic slot, 5 minutes maximum, just turn up and join in the party!