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My favourite 5 books from the second half of 2017

It's been a busy six months: publishing my third novel, packing up our house & leaving Nairobi. But I've read more than ever. Reading is a constant for me, an anchor and refuge and my day is never finished without losing myself within the…
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Stuck for last minute Christmas gifts? How about one of my top 5 reads of 2016?

I am delighted to unwittingly discover that my top 5 reads of 2016 have all been written by women. I have absolutely nothing against fiction by men; I have also read many books written by men this year and have always been fairly gender-blind…
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Why reading aloud to older kids is not just special, it's vital

When is a good age to stop reading stories aloud to children? Well, how about never? Alright, so what are the chances really of being tucked up beside our seventeen year old reading a bedtime story. But many believe that once children have…
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Win a small treasure: The Gifts of Reading

'This story, like so many stories, begins with a gift. The gift, like so many gifts, was a book...' So begins Robert Macfarlane's masterful and luminous essay, on the gift and power of giving and receiving books. This small, beautifully bound…
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Why should we read Historical Fiction?

I'm going to let you into a little secret: I never intended to write Historical Fiction. It's not that I didn't enjoy reading it from time to time, but in my pre-novel days when I focused on the short story form, they were almost always set…
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How do we create a new narrative of hope?

'It's important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I'm interested in is about broad perspectives…
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The curious truth about book covers

So here's a curious thing I've learnt about the covers of novels since becoming a published author: They don't have to (and often don't) have anything to do with the book's contents. Seems peculiar, doesn't it? Counter-intuitive? Downright…
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Carving a path for our children through written & oral landscapes

Illustration by Thomas James Words are like water. They ebb and flow, transforming as the years pass to camouflage themselves in their surroundings. Language shapes and moulds our identities, providing a emotional anchor for our pasts and…
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Five celebratory online spaces to inspire curiosity & creativty

Do you ever find yourself browsing through the internet, searching for calming spaces, free from clutter, hyperbole & advertising, places that leave you feeling inspired, a little bit wiser or just plain happy? Such sites are surprisingly…
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Uncovering Enid Blyton

Lauded and loathed in equal measure, since the 1950's Enid Blyton's books have been banned from many schools, libraries and homes for being anachronistic, sexist, xenophobic, elitist and racist, not to mention accusations of relentlessly…