Tag Archives: Beatrice Hitchman

News roundup: loads of events and tons of new books!

28 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve had a gambol through the news. So time to limber up those digits and romp through this week’s edition (did you know that your fingers don’t have muscle inside. It’s all in the palm and forearm apparently…).

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Lots of fabulous events coming up where you can catch your favourite authors.

Stella Duffy, writer, actorThe award-winning Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at this Friday’s Polari evening. Grab yourself some tickets here if you’re lucky enough to be in the area. Also a reminder that the Manchester Polari evening is hot on its heels (February 10th). Beatrice Hitchman, whose debut Petite Mort was short-listed for the Polari Prize, will be appearing.  You can book tickets here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall will also be appearing oop north in Manchester as part of the first ever National Festival of LGBT History. She’ll be reading from The Repercussions on the afternoon of Saturday 14th February at the Central Library. For more details and a full list of events tootle over here.

VGLeeEventThe ever-entertaining VG Lee will be doing a gig in Bedford on 17th February (7 p.m.). She says of the evening “I shall be chatting, a bit of reading, a bit of comedy – no singing or dancing unless too much wine is imbibed.” You can also catch her on March 7th in Huddersfield as part of the Polari frolicks up North session at the literary festival – more details for the event here.

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swordfishAndrea Bramhall has been blogging on the Bold Strokes site about her latest action-packed novel of genius scientists and terrorists – Swordfish (the sequel to Ladyfish).  It’s a personal piece where she delves into the past of one of the characters and how it’s taught her a thing or two about herself.

Every character has a little something of me in them. And I do mean everyone. Good guys and bad guys. It’s my way of connecting with them, of making them real to me, and making whole characters rather than flat two dimensional ones that are just a jumble of actions and words that don’t make sense. Now, that can make writing some things very dark. If you read this book, you’ll meet Masood and see what I mean, but it can also be enlightening. This is what I mean when I say Cassie taught me things.

Here’s the full piece.

The Velvet Lounger has also been passing her critical gaze over Andrea’s book and this is what she had to say:

a mad romp full of twists and turns, high tension deadlines, scientific breakthroughs and shoot ‘em up confrontations with the bad guys. It is fast paced when the story is hot, but manages to combine gentler, slower moments of intimacy and tenderness…A great fun read, fast and furious.

You can read the full review here.

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On to new and forthcoming books.

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleJane Retzig has published her fourth novel The Wrong Woman, and it is already doing very nicely indeed, bouncing around at the top of the Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the blurb for her new romance:

Kate is a rapidly rising star of the trauma therapy world – London based, shy, uptight, and with an air of aloofness that masks a deep sense of insecurity. When she has to relocate her ‘Traumatology for the 21st Century’ conference to Horton Hill ‘Deluxe’ Hotel and Conference Centre in the heart of industrial West Yorkshire, she is understandably horrified by the state of the place.

Horton Hill is a mess. The car park looks like the surface of the moon. The pool is a health hazard. And the staff seem incapable of speaking intelligible English. When Naz, the hotel’s ‘Hospitality Assistant’ finds Kate struggling with her luggage, she instantly stops to help. Bright, enthusiastic and hard-working, she is drawn to Kate’s barely concealed vulnerability, and desperately wants to make a good impression on the harassed, but undeniably attractive conference organiser.

Despite her natural caution, as the weekend progresses, Kate finds herself warming to Naz’s kindness and obvious interest in her.
But she is unaware that her carefully constructed life back in London is starting to unravel. And when she finds herself accused of a terrible crime, Kate discovers that sometimes friendship and love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

thehysteryappV.T. Davy (author of A Very Civil Wedding) has just signed off on the cover for novel number three. It’s due out in February and “blends science fiction, lesbian romance and women’s history to ask whether the rights that women espouse today are those that were fought for by the pioneers of feminism or whether they have become distorted beyond recognition.” Here’s the intriguing blurb:

When the biophysicist Dr Brogan Miller and her partner, the women’s historian Dr Honor Smith, stumble upon a cosmic phenomenon that enables them to film the everyday lives of women from the past, they believe it will bring about a revolution in the way that women’s history is taught and studied.
 
On the release of the Hystery app, their initial euphoria is not dampened as astonishing uploads from all over the world pour in showing women from all centuries at home, at work and at play. But, as the uploads take a more sinister turn, they realise that, in their excitement, they overlooked society’s appetite for new technology that bends each innovation to satisfy its basest cravings. It is only when tragedy strikes the couple and the extraordinary Erin James enters Brogan’s life that she finds the courage to put right what she has let loose on the world.

blindtrustJody Klaire has revealed the cover and blurb for her sequel to The Empath. Blind Trust is the second book in the Above and Beyond series. No release date as yet, but here’s that blurb:

Aeron Lorelei finds herself part of the mysterious Criminal Investigations Group and is looking forward to catching up with Commander Renee Black after being locked in bootcamp for six months. However, something isn’t quite right with Renee and Aeron can’t figure out why she is pushing her away. When mother nature puts a mountain in their path (literally) and Renee does the unthinkable, it is left to Aeron to clear Renee’s name. Stuck in a small Colorado town with only a few days to solve a mystery, Aeron needs some ‘spiritual’ support.’ Saving Renee involves using the burdens she loathes and every ounce of belief she has. It looks bleak for Renee, and when the danger lurking in the past snakes its way into the town, it is up to Aeron alone to stop it.

SecretsAnd finally, Jade Winters has a novel out… soon. Secrets is written with Alexis Bailey with whom Jade co-wrote her first published piece of erotica. Here’s the blurb:

To the outside world, Lauren’s marriage is picture perfect, but she is hiding a secret. Beneath the smile lies an unquenchable yearning: Lauren craves intimacy with a woman.

Until now, these desires have been mere fantasy, harmless daydreams. That is until Lauren meets a beautiful woman on her daily commute, a stranger with whom she has an immediate passionate connection.

Torn between loyalty to her marriage and a passion for another woman, Lauren struggles to do “the right thing”. But she is about to discover that her marriage is not what it seems. It is not just her who is hiding a secret…

And if that’s whetted your appetite, go and indulge in chapters one and two for free here.

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Until next time…tara a bit!

Merry Christmas Q&A!

18 Dec

snowmanIt’s becoming a bit of a festive tradition here at UK LesFic to corral a few of our finest (or drunkest!) authors and ask them to answer three book and Christmas-themed questions.

Our questions to round out this year were:

– What was your book of the year and why?

– What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

– And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

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VGLeeVG Lee is a stand-up comedian and novelist and, in the words of Stella Duffy, “funny, smart, clever, witty, not afraid to be honest and poignant at the same time.” Her first novel Diary of Provincial Lesbian is treasured by many, and Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”.

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What was your book of the year and why?

petite mortI read Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman, published by Serpent’s Tail, when I was a judge on this year’s Polari First Book Prize and thought it was excellent. (The novel made the shortlist of five.) The heroine is Adele Roux, seventeen years old and the story is set for the most part in Paris in 1913. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and thrilling.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

I’m going to go backwards to answer this because I want to re-read Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter which was published in 2008. Someone lent me a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it but then had to give it back and I find I miss it. The story is set in Victorian London and based on a real-life scandal and it’s absolutely gripping!

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As there are several people I would like to be the angel on the top of my tree, I shall be diplomatic and opt for my cat Lettuce. I can easily imagine her climbing up the tree, hanging from a branch, bringing the whole thing crashing down…

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kikiarcherpolariKiki Archer is the mistress of lesbian chicklit and all five of her novels have been massive lesfic best-sellers. She’s been quiet of late, working on a screenplay to that bestest selling of them all, But She is My Student.

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What was your book of the year and why?

love is enoughI loved Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl. It was smart, sweet, and really sexy. Plus there was a huge focus on snogging, perfect.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My ‘to read’ pile is so high now, but top of the list is definitely Cindy Rizzo’s Love is Enough. I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy over the summer when she read on my Creating Chemistry panel at L Fest, and she was such good fun. I loved her debut book, Exception to the Rule, and I’ve heard this one is just as good.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would love it to be Gillian Anderson, Stella Duffy from The Fall. I have a huge crush on her power lesbian vibe and her array of satin shirts!

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catherine hallCatherine Hall is a Cambridge graduate who enjoyed careers in documentary-film production and international peace-building before she became a freelance writer. Her début, Days of Grace, was critically and commercially successful, and The Proof of Love won the Green Carnation Prize. Her latest novel is the vivid and intriguing The Repercussions.

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What was your book of the year and why?

thirstI really loved Kerry Hudson’s Thirst – it’s easy to see why it was shortlisted for this year’s Green Carnation prize. It’s a love story with a difference that takes you from Hackney to Russia with complex, damaged, beautifully portrayed characters who really make you care and yearn for them to be all right in the end.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My Christmas stocking is bound to be bookishly bulgy. Hopefully with Stella Duffy’s new collection of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. I’ve read a couple of them and they’re fantastic. If there’s also a copy of The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters to curl up with in front of a roaring fire and a hot toddy, I’d be a very happy girl indeed.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Laura Prepon, in her incarnation as Alex Vause in Orange is The New Black would be the perfect naughty angel to grace my tree. Hopefully she’d fly down and join me under the mistletoe for a bit of Christmas cheer…

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KePayneBath resident KE Payne is an author with Bold Strokes Books. She has written five Young Adult novels, including the very funny 365 Days. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. Her latest novel, Once the Clouds Have Gone, is her first adult lesbian romance, and she has been dead chuffed with its reception.

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What was your book of the year and why?

kiss in the darkThe book that stayed with me long after I’d read it this year was A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. It’s the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved her flowing style of writing and the fact that the book is written from two different perspectives, which added a nice twist to it.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Can I cheat and have two? I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m itching to get my hands on the latest Sarah Waters novel, The Paying Guests. I absolutely love her flowing style of writing, so that’s definitely on my list. I also hear rumblings that Kate Morton has a new book on the horizon too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one. I love Kate Morton; I find her writing so beautiful and soothing. Reading her books is akin to snuggling on the sofa under a blanket on a winter’s night with your fluffy PJs on. Just lovely.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree (and why)? Oh, this is going to sound cheesy, and he never did suit a tutu, but I’d like my father to come back and visit me again. He died a long time ago now, and I sometimes struggle to remember what he sounded like, so to hear his voice again just one more time would make my Christmas.

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veronica fearonVeronica Fearon was born in Hackney, in the east end of London to West Indian parents. She has a degree in psychology and has worked as a criminal lawyer in London for most of her adult life. Her début novel, The Girl with the Treasure Chest, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

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What was your book of the year and why?

mitchieMy book of the year is called Mitchie by Catherine Blackfeather. It’s a story about a young girl forced to flee her home town, and make a life disguised as a boy. It’s full of reprehensible characters, which I love, and Mitchie’s voice is earnest and comical even in the face of some quite serious issues.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Top of my wish list for next year is Always you Edina by VG Lee. She is one of those rare writers who can inject humour into every word or sentence she chooses.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As for the Angel at the top of my tree, I’d have Angelique Kidjo who could sing a mixture of crimbo, politics and just plain powerful songs.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire hails from Wales, where she lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever, several gerbils, some sneaky house mice, and a neighbour’s cat. She loves writing, sport, music, art, and teaching herself new subjects. Jody is a proud member of the GCLS, and is delighted to be a part of the Bedazzled Ink family. Jody’s début novel, The Empath was a runner up in the recent Rainbow Awards.

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What was your book of the year? Why?

the midnight moonThat’s a toughie if I’m honest. There’s been so many wonderful books out and so many awesome big hitters. We seem to have been planning a British invasion too if the Rainbow Awards are anything to go by. (Big cheer to UKLesfic’s own Cari.) I also got to see my début, The Empath get in on the act too and I’ve got Fractured to release in Nov/Dec.

All that being said, My favourite book of the year has to be The Midnight Moon by Geri Hill. She’s someone who I love reading. It doesn’t seem to matter where she takes me, what characters are there or what the topic is. As an author she makes me want to read anything with her name on it, I get excited when her books are due for release. She’s a master and The Midnight Moon is an effortless, feel-good romance with some witty, fun-filled dialogue. The characters are cool, the location is sunny and warm and well… it’s Gerri!

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

There’s a couple of novels I’m quite looking forward to. Obviously I’m always excited to read my fellow Bedazzled authors’ offerings and I’m also really looking forward to Melissa Brayden‘s book Just Three Words. (Bold Strokes folks are pretty cool bunch.) I guess it goes without saying that Gerri’s offerings will be a must-buy for me, right?

just three wordsOn the writing side of things, I am releasing three books next year, the second in the series, and follow-on’s of both The Empath and Fractured. (Blind Trust – Above & Beyond Book II and Blood Run – The Black Wolf Chronicles Book II.) I’m also set to release my first ever romance La Vie En Bleu around May time which takes a scatty Englishwoman and a suave French artisan and throws in a whole load of Notting Hill/Oscar Wilde humour. It looks set to be an exciting year on both reading and releasing fronts!

Who would you most like as the angel on top of your tree?

Not that my dear little puppy would fit on the tree (he’s ten weeks and already the size of a lion,) but my Goldie Fergus would probably be my pick. One, because if he’s on the tree, he’s not stealing tissues, my socks, chewing the couch, chewing me… And two, Fergus and angel in the same sentence seems as apt as the name Little John was. Failing getting the fluffy fiend to behave enough for us to place him on top, I’ll go for cake. Simply, because cake is always heavenly!

Have a peaceful, love and laughter-filled time. Merry Christmas!!

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karencampbell2Karen Campbell is the author of Little Whispers, a collection of short stories, and Violet’s Story. Her second novel The Knowing is a supernatural drama set in Glasgow. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drink lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

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What was your book of the year and why?

the five peopleThe book I read this year which had the most impact on me was The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I know it’s not a new book but I only just came across it and it’s fantastic. I was trying to tell my girlfriend the story, once I had just finished it, and I broke down in tears because it was so beautiful and it had touched me so much. If I had to pick a LesFic book, it would need to be The Comedienne by VG Lee, as I have just re-read it for the second time. I love her turn of phrase, it totally appeals to my sense of humour. She’s a very talented writer.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Next year, I want to publish two books. I want to get better as a writer. I want the world to be my oyster. Oh and Scotland to get independence. I can dream, can’t I?

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would like Siouxsie Sioux to be the angel on top of my Christmas tree, so that I could prod her with my finger and make her sing to me. “Dazzle it’s a glittering prize.” Then Robert Smith from The Cure would come to rescue her for the sake of old friendships and I would make them gig in my living-room. Then I would make them roast chicken and mashed potatoes, and serve intoxicating cider so that I could get them drunk and record all their stories. Before she left, I would ask Siouxsie to do my make-up.

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BeatricehitchmanBeatrice Hitchman’s début, Petit Mort has been a bit of a stunner. Short-listed for the Polari Prize and Historical Writers’ Association Debut Novel Prize, and adapted on for Radio 4 as a series, Beatrice’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as Moulin Rouge.

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What was your book of the year and why?

we are all completelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I feel duty-bound to admit that it doesn’t feature any lesbians, but it’s a book about relationships in the most enlightening and unpredictable way. The narrator, Rosemary, a college freshman, has not one but two missing siblings…telling their story and her own, she’ll redefine your very concept of family. It’s such a funny, beautiful book.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

A film: Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol was a 1950s landmark in fiction, daring to portray women differently at a time when most lesbian characters met a sticky end. The Blanchett/Mara combo will be absolutely boss, and Todd Haynes made Far From Heaven. O for Over-excited.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Patricia Highsmith. She’d be hilarious! But she’d drop fag-ash on your presents (on purpose).

 

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A big thank you to all our participating authors! And a Merry Christmas to everyone, from myself and Tig 🙂

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News roundup: a scintillating Polari shortlist, Beatrice Hitchman’s intriguing Petite Mort, events, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy and more!

11 Sep

Cari’s been gambolling around the coast complete with baby seals, so you’re stuck with me again for this week’s post. Let’s have a quick romp through the news…

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petitmortThe Polari shortlist was announced at Monday’s Polari evening in London, and what an exciting short list it is. Paul Burston has commented on the great diversity of this year’s entries, which can be any first book that explores the LGBT experience in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. Here’s the list:

Sarah Westwood‘s The Rubbish Lesbian – a collection of her columns for Diva magazine
Dean Atta‘s poetry collection I’m Nobody’s Nigger
Diriye Osman‘s short story collection Fairytales For Lost Children
Vernal Scott‘s God’s Other Children – a London memoir
Beatrice Hitchman‘s noir novel Petite Mort

We’ve mentioned Sarah Westwood’s book in passing before but we haven’t featured Beatrice Hitchman. Hitchman’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as  Moulin Rouge.

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

A silent film, destroyed in a fire in 1913 at the Pathé studio, before it was seen even by its director. A lowly seamstress, who makes the costumes she should be wearing, but believes her talent – and the secret she keeps too – will soon get her a dressing room of her own.

A beautiful house in Paris, with a curving staircase, a lake, and locked rooms. A famous – and dashing – creator of spectacular cinematic illusions, husband to a beautiful, volatile actress, the most adored icon of the Parisian studios. All fit together, like scenes in a movie. And as you will see, this plot has a twist we beg you not to disclose…

For a bit more background on the book and author there’s a review in the Polari Magazine and an interview in Diva. You can also read more about Beatrice on her website.

Sticking with Polari just for a moment, you can read a little about the background of Polari and the Polari Tour here and also get a taster for what to expect from Kiki Archer at the Birmingham event in this video.

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

Maureen Duffy was interviewed on Totally4Women.  Maureen talked about diverse topics from prizes, her opinion of self-publishing and the representation of women in media. On that last matter she has this to say:

You have only to count the numbers of titles and reviewers in the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books by men as against those by women to see the discrimination. Also while women read books by both men and women, men read predominantly books by men. The emphasis is for youth and glamour for women writers still. Our enemy is still the patriarchal society, witness Cameron’s cabinet even after the reshuffle. Even Mrs Thatcher whom they all profess to admire was painfully dumped when the novelty wore off.

You can read the whole interview here.

ellendeanPlanet of the Books has a new author profile up and this time it’s Ellen Dean‘s turn. She answers the usual questions and this is what she had to say about spending the day as one of her favourite characters:

It has to be Hyacinth Dickinson from Beautiful Strangers and Beyond Midnight, Books 1 and 2 in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Tall, blonde and gorgeous. Hyacinth is psychic and can use telepathy to get into people’s minds and learn all their secrets, or make them do what she wants them to do. Plus, she owns valuable and rare diamonds (a girl’s best friend) two fabulous houses, a yacht and enjoys partying with a wide circle of friends. It would be a hard to decide where to actually be: in one of her fabulous houses, controlling the Amethyst Coven or lazing on the yacht in Cannes. Oh, decisions, decisions!

You can read the full profile here.

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fallingcoloursRJ Samuel‘s Falling Colours was reviewed over on Piercing Fiction. The review starts with “Let’s start by saying this is a fun book to read.” A phrase that might not auger too well with a Lynne Pierce review.

But fear not, the review’s a good one and this is what Lynne has to say in summation for RJ’s tale of a vision painter:

RJ Samuel has used the theme of a person caught between two cultures before, but Kiran has a comic twist that makes her fun while revealing the struggle she goes through.  The book is a slapstick mystery in the best tradition of the old 1930s movies.  It would be great to have a sequel to this book to see where Samuels could take the characters, but Kiran would have to bring Marge back again.  That might be too much for any of them to take.

Read Falling Colours.  It’s fresh; it’s different; it’s worth it.

You read the full review here.

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Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare Lydon‘s been blogging again and this week it’s about some harsh truths for writers. Her ten truths cover everything from the number of copies a typical book sells (not many) and who cares about your manuscript (you and your mum). Here’s her truth about muses:

Writing is an art. But like any art, it’s 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. Like anything, you have to work at it and you have to do regularly to get good at it – it takes practice. If you only write ‘when the muse takes you’, you will never finish that book you’re working on. And muses are like fairies btw – they don’t exist.

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Now for our weekly sample of Sarah Waters news.

There was an interesting article in The New York Times this week. While everyone in the UK, from my mother-in-law to my doctor, is looking forward to picking up The Paying Guests, apparently that’s not the reception she gets in the US:

Ms. Waters has tended to receive less critical attention in the United States than at home. Laura Miller, who wrote a delighted review of her novel “The Little Stranger” for Salon, said that might be because she has fallen, unfairly, into a genre ghetto.

“She does have a devoted readership here, but if there’s a problem with her work getting the respect it deserves, it’s probably because it’s historical fiction. Some people who write it are at the top of their game … but at the same time, it’s full of cheesy, endless series about things like the women of the War of 1812.”

The article goes on to give some nice detail on Sarah Waters’ background from being the only gay in the village, to then meeting the other one and how she fell into writing. Here’s the full article.

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everythingStella Duffy has just released a collection of her work that has been previously published or broadcast on the radio. Here’s the blurb for Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined:

This collection of short stories brings together, for the first time, a selection of Stella Duffy’s award-winning writing, as well as some of the numerous stories that have been broadcast on radio and appeared in anthologies over the past 20 years. Many of these books are out of print and the radio broadcasts are unavailable; this collection therefore not only highlights the range and variety of her writing, but also breathes new life into some of her best stories.

Here’s the Amazon link although note that the Kindle version for 80 p is just a single short story.

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

Nicola Griffith is touring at the beginning of October. The tour includes places as different and as far-flung as London and Ilkley. Full details are on her blog.

Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at Gay’s the Word tonight – a great chance to see two excellent authors. Starts at 7 p.m.  More details here.

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Right, my turn to gambol around the coast. Ta ra!