Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

We’re Here in the Hills of Perugia (and Holiday Reading)

After twenty four hours in the wonderful city of Lucca, we spent several hours (some of us having to go back for some luggage that has been forgotten, not me for once after the awful incident with my passport in America last year) driving from there to the wilds of the mountainous woods of Perugia and into our, simply stunning, villa. I think you will agree it looks like a reading haven and no mistake…

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We are now here for a week and with no other house in sight, or near us for miles, let alone a town we are just going to spend the days chilling by the pool, reading, playing games and eating vast amounts of the gorgeous local produce and hole ourselves up here for a while. This really, for me with my Dercums, means mainly lying by the pool with books. Which books have I packed with me? Well funny you should ask that, and how kind of you for doing so, I have actually packed seven books in my case and I made a video all about them and why I chose them which you can see below…

… I have finished of the Gerritsen already and am now heading into the Atwood, perfect pair of authors to start my holiday with. That said, the library that this farmhouse is pretty brilliant. I have been eyeing up Ross Raisin, the new Sarah Waters and several more already. Oooh the tempation. Hope you are all well? What have you been upto of late, what are you doing this weekend and what have you been and what are you reading?

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I’m In Italy, You Can Come If You Like…

I meant to do a post saying I was going off to Italy for a holiday, but in a pre-holiday whirlwind of all sorts of shenanigans I forgot to. I’m now here and, as we are waiting for the worst service by a car company (Firefly Car Rental) ever for the last hour or so and I’ve caved in and turned my data roaming on. It does mean I can share the view of the Alps on the way though.


They were stunning. I was mesmerised and had to put my Tess Gerritsen (one of my favourite thriller writers as you may know) down for quite a while. Fingers crossed we will be off to Pisa shortly.

Let me know if you’d like some blogs of Italy along ten way, we are mainly in a farmhouse in the middle of the mountains away from it all so I’ll also be able to catch up on reviews and most importantly… Loads of reading. I am hoping for a day trip to Assissi which is supposed to be lovely. So I may do some posts along the way if you like it or not.

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Some Very Exciting News…

So finally after what has felt like forever, I can spill the beans on something that I have been beavering away on in the background, which has now come to fruition and I can talk about. I am working with the lovely, lovely folks at Orion for a new and very exciting project, called Hometown Tales, which I will be Editorial Consultant on. Below is a little bit more (the official word, rather than my excited ramblings that you can see here) about the project that will be part of Weidenfeld & Nicolson

“Hometown Tales is the first initiative of its kind to focus on geographical diversity, with a guarantee of publication for the chosen authors. The series aims to open up the publishing industry by offering deals to authors from regions that are under-represented in the UK book market, and to authors who wouldn’t necessarily be found through conventional channels. By pairing recognised names with unpublished talent, the series will provide a platform for new writers, helping them to launch the first step of their careers, edited and mentored by editors at W&N. 

Hometown Tales

Working with key industry figure Simon Savidge, W&N is calling for submissions based on the idea of ‘hometown’. Writers who have not published a full-length work are invited to submit a piece of fiction or non-fiction, of approximately 15,000 words, about a place where they were born or where they have lived. It can be a village, a town, a city or a region. For more information on how to submit visit the website here. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2017″

How exciting is that? For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you will know the passion that I have for diverse narrative and the power I believe that books have to place you into the lives of others from a world of different backgrounds, so to get to do this with a project like Hometown Tales with a major publisher behind it is quite incredible. I haven’t been this delighted, bookish project wise, since I joined the judging panel on Fiction Uncovered last year. I cannot wait to start collaborating with all sorts of authors, from household names to people putting pen to paper for the first time. Seriously, I am on cloud nine.

The first titles will appear in paperback and ebook in 2017, with the launch list to be confirmed later this year. W&N will work closely with organisations such as the the Reading Agency, New Writing North and Literature Works and many more; along with libraries, literary festivals and local writing groups to encourage the widest possible outreach and pool of talent. I feel like I am going to be on the bookish version of the X Factor panel as I join forces with the wonderful Katie Espiner (who made me read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, which she bought when she was at Harper Collins, by putting it in my hands with a slight sense of threat and menace if I didn’t read it) along with the lovely Sophie Buchan, Jennifer Kerslake and Ian Wong… Or The Hometown Tales Squad as I affectionately think of them.

If you are worried that this means the end of the blog or the podcast or anything, fret not. I will still be reading books from all over the place, from all the publishers and carrying on as normal. Well maybe at a slightly reduced service, which I know it has been of late but with festivals, moving, pending operations, a holiday looming and this all happening you may be able to understand why it has been quieter of late. Thinking about it though, maybe I can blog about this adventure along the way. Would you find that interesting?

So that is my exciting news finally out of the bag. For more information on how to submit visit the website here with lots of lovely quotes and more information. What do you think about the initiative? Any authors, or people you know who can tell a bloody good yarn, that you think we should be looking in the direction of?

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Guessing the Man Booker 2016 Longlist

So I said I would hold off sharing video’s for a while, however I thought the easiest way for me to do my Man Booker Prize longlist predictions this year was in that form, so I have. Here it is…

We only have a few hours to go until it is announced, when you will see that none of my guesses were correct and that is exactly why the team haven’t phoned begging me to judge it yet, hahaha. I will share more info, on both the list and my thoughts on it, here on the blog not long after it’s announced and we can all have a good old natter about it. Hoorah. In the meantime what do you think will make the list?

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And He’s Back, Where The Funk Has He Been?

Forgive me readers for I have sinned, it has been ten days since my last blog post. Ten days which actually feels like ten months as I have been working on the lead up to, delivery of and then derigging of a huge music festival and I am utterly, utterly shattered. I know I have shared a fair few video’s on here with you (some of you love it, some of you not so much) however I thought I would share a vlog I made last week whilst working on the festival, and a few other things, so you could see what on earth it is I do. You know, getting to know me a bit better and all that…

Bar festivals, and working around 15 hour days, I haven’t really done much else i.e. reading or writing reviews. I have mainly been bingeing on Stranger Things on Netflix or pizza’s when I get in. Then sleeping, as much sleeping as possible. So I guess I have been a bit boring book wise. What have you all been up to and what have you been reading? I would love to know.

Also, how can it be Man Booker longlist day tomorrow already, I haven’t even played guess the longlist this year which feels very odd. I might try and squeeze that in if I can maybe, though all I want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep. Oh and host an event with Jenn Ashworth tomorrow night, then I plan a long weekend of nothing but sleeping and reading, bliss. Bring it on. I am hoping to see Sarah Moss, Sarah Perry, Charlotte Wood, Garth Greenwell and Paul Beatty on the list. I need to give it more thought, what about you?

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Books of 2016, So Far…

So as we have reached, well slightly gone over, the halfway point in the year, I thought I would do something I don’t think I have done before and share with you my  Books of 2016 so far. Well it made sense to me considering I had just done the below video for my YouTube channel and so I thought I would share it on here too. (I am really enjoying the booktube community but trying not to bombard you with it on here.) So if you would like to know some of my favourite books of the year so far, grab a cup of tea (as its about 20 minutes of me going on about books) and have a watch of this…

I hope you like the list, some of the books haven’t been mentioned on here before so give you an idea of what is coming over the next few weeks and months*. I would love to hear you thoughts on the books that I discuss and what you have made of them if you have read them. I would also really love to know which books have been the books of your year so far too, so do tell.

*Yes I know there have been a few video posts of late, with work being utterly bonkers in the lead up to one of our biggest festivals this weekend, video’s are so much speedier to make than a review which takes me ages, they will return though, honest – along with the usual rambling posts. I just need to play catch up with life after the musical festival has happened. It is this weekend so I am getting there. 

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Time To Move On…

One of the reasons that I have been quieter over the last few weeks/months on the blog has been because I have been making a big decision, which some of you may know about through social media. After several years I have decided that enough is enough, I need more space for reading and books and so I am moving house. Well, I say I am, we are. Myself and The Beard have decided to get money married, me with a mortgage feels so grown up I could be sick/cry, before we actually get married in September 2017. I should also point out that I didn’t demand we move out, we have both – along with the cats – just outgrown the wonderful, wonderful apartment we have lived in for the last four and a bit years (which is The Beards not mine) and are heading to a new house in the next few weeks/months.

It is very exciting. It is also a bit odd and we are going to be very sad to say goodbye to somewhere we have loved, and had has such high ceilings perfect for so many bookshelves. I thought I would share some pics of the house because then a) you will get to know a bit more about where I live b) see why we are sad to leave and why it’s been so great for all the books.

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It is lovely isn’t it? But onward, what is very exciting is is that our new house is quite big and two of the six bedrooms are going to become a library for me on the first floor. (There has since been a small amount of kerfuffle when I mentioned I would still need shelves in every other room too, but that has been agreed in exchange for a new swanky kitchen.) Even more exciting is that The Beard and I are also planning on making the house a writers B&B, somewhere they can get away from it all for a week (well, five days) with breakfast, dinner and bookish chats by the log burner in the evening if they aren’t writing away. So exciting times ahead indeed, though with a holiday in Italy, several festivals at work and me having an operation for my Dercum’s it also looks like a bonkers summer.

So what is news with you? What have you been reading lately? Also, random ask but how would any of you feel about a readers retreat, somewhere you can just go and read and hideaway from the world with a lovely breakfast, dinner and lots of bookish chatter in the evening – maybe a few trips to the seaside thrown in. The Beard doesn’t think people would go for it, I am not so sure. Thoughts please.

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