Tag Archives: Diana Souhami

L Fest 2015

21 Jul

The sun shined DSC_1606on L Fest this year, and a fun and cozy event it was too. Live music got the big top treatment and the arts stage was hosted nearby in an airy bright tent. Stalls lined the edges of two grassy areas with everything from busking to dog shows. There were fewer author panels this year, and no fiction workshops, but what the sessions lacked in quantity they certainly made up for in quality.

Karen Campbell

Jubilation at working microphones and a brilliant reading from Karen Campbell

First up was the Indie Panel ably captained by Clare Lydon. HP Munro had the unenviable task of kicking off the show before the microphones arrived but was beautifully audible by the time her reading of the merkin scene from the much-loved Stars Collide came around. Sally Edwards read from her self-confessed highly autobiographical debut How to Love. Karen Campbell enthralled the audience with a brilliant reading from her work in progress about a lesbian dwarf. And Suzanne Egerton, who has one of those voices you need for Book at Bedtime, delivered her humorous story Diva like a pro.

Polari Panel

The fabulous Polari panel: Diana Souhami, host Paul Burston, VG Lee, Kiki Archer and VA Fearon

Sunday morning was time for Paul Burston‘s Polari panel and a large and eager crowd was up early to see some sparkling readings. VA Fearon started the session with a reading from her gritty London gangland thriller The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Some light relief was dished out by Kiki Archer with the shitting-mobility-scooter-icecream scene from Too Late…I Love You, much to the delight of the audience. Diana Souhami was a great inclusion, effortlessly entertaining with her own witty observations and reading wonderful snippets from her biography of the fascinating Alice B Tokas and Gertrude Stein. VG Lee supplied the grand finale with two Deirdre stories to a most appreciative crowd.

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

The last author session was from the big-selling Manda Scott. The historical fiction author took a handful of questions and then talked most impressively about everything from living in round houses to knights steering horses with their bums and how genuinely terrifying battle reenactments are. She offered a few interesting tidbits about her writing career such as her name change (to MC Scott) being forced upon her for the Rome series, much to her chagrin, and the barriers to writing the Boudica series – pressure to keep to her previous thriller brand and established historical authors suggesting there was not enough material to support new fiction – Manda went on to write a series of four sizable tomes.

It was, all in all, a fabulous festival. But let’s hope 2016 sees a beefed up arts side to L Fest.


Polari panelists VG Lee, Paul Burston, Kiki Archer, Diana Souhami

HP Munro

HP Munro reading the merkin scene from Stars Collide

Suzanne Egerton

Suzanne Egerton

News Roundup: Trio of Brand New Authors, New Reviews & BSB’s Rogues’ Gallery

17 Jun

I’ve just tied back my hair (ha!), grabbed a feather duster and given the site a bit of a summer clean out. In a nutshell, this means the New Releases page is bang up to date (with a couple of additions we’d missed added retrospectively), we have three new authors whom I shall tell you all about in a moment, and more information added to the Events page. If it wasn’t so bloody chilly outside I’d treat myself to a Solero…

youcantrunRight, new authors. Henriette Bookgeek has truly earned her spurs the last few weeks and pointed us in the direction of a trio of new Brit authors. Bella Books has signed two of these: Kate Snowdon and Lyn Dowland, but in a somewhat dubious marketing strategy they seem determined not to let anyone know much about them. Neither author has a website and Lyn isn’t even listed on Bella’s site, despite her début book – Distance Learning – being scheduled for a September release. We can tell you that Kate lives up in Scotland and her first novel, You Can’t Run From Love, sneaked out in April, when it was reviewed by Terry Baker:

A nice well written debut book with a sweet and tender romance that simmers throughout the book. The scenic descriptions and wildlife are brilliant too.

As Kate recently followed us on Facebook, I’m hoping to get in touch with her, then we can let you know more about her!

blue hourRounding out our trio is Beatrice Donahue, whose short story The Blue Hour was published in May by Ladylit. Beatrice hails from Southwest England and, according to her Goodreads page, is currently contemplating a sequel to her novelette:

It appears that a sequel (and final) piece is brewing for Eve and Rosina. What will become of them? They’re telling me the rest of their story now, usually at night, and I’m doing my best to write it down.

A Q&A with Beatrice can be found here at the Harper Bliss site, and Terry Baker had this to say about The Blue Hour in her review:

A well written debut novelette. The two characters, Rosina and Eve are likeable, well formed and interact well with each other. From the scenic descriptions, it was easy to visualize myself back in a sleepy little English village in the roaring 1920’s.The story is short, but sweet, hot and very erotic. I’ll be watching out for more from Beatrice Donahue.

If any of the authors are lurking in these parts, give us a shout – we’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, blurbs for all of their books can be found over on our New Releases page.

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Sticking with reviews for the moment, The Guardian has recently reviewed two of the authors we’ve featured on this site. They had this to say about Diana Souhami‘s biography The Trials of Radclyffe Hall:

Souhami, a witty and astute reader of human nature, never makes her subject a martyr, cataloguing the pets Hall ditched because of defects, the dismal pretexts for infidelity, the admiration for Italian fascism. Not always a wonderful life, then, but a truly remarkable one.

The full text of the review can be found here.

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In the same week, Stella Duffy’s The Purple Shroud (the sequel to Theodora) also got a favourable write-up:

Theodora is, in Duffy’s hands, a richly paradoxical character from whom the light of life shines brightly.

Read the whole review here.

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bsbOver on the BSB UK website, Vic Oldham has been busy collecting photos from the 2013 Nottingham Event, and what a rogues’ gallery it is turning out to be 😉 Hit the link to scroll through the pics, and if you have any that you took yourself I’m sure Vic would be happy to include them on the site.

On a more serious note, Andrea Bramhall posted a blog about breaking down barriers during the weekend, and Amy Dunne shared her thoughts on how LGBTQ books made her realise she wasn’t alone. Like all good stories, both blogs come with a happy ending.

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Speaking of rogues… If you’re feeling daring, hop over to our About page, which has also had a bit of an update in the last week 🙂

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Right, I don’t care if it’s miserable outside, I’m having that Solero!

News Roundup: Rachel Dax’s bedtime story, Diana Souhami’s bio of Radclyffe Hall, and Jane Fletcher in conversation

14 May

Rachel Dax has recorded a short story exclusively for the Liz McMullen show. Over on the site, you can listen to Rachel read How I admin-ajaxMet My True Love, or download the story as a PDF.

Rachel has written the most unusual story, exclusively for the show. This is the first bedtime story that would be perfectly all right to share with a general audience. Oh and there is a sweetener: she has an awesome British accent!



6Diana Souhami has new paperback and Kindle editions of her biographies out this month with revised introductions, including LGBT titles Gluck, Natalie and Romaine, and the classic The Trials of Radclyffe Hall.  Diana Souhami is a winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Whitbread Prize, and has been shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography. Read more about the biographies here.


On Friday, we will be the very happy hosts of  an ongoing Blog Conversation that is taking part betweenfletcher Bold Strokes authors Jane Fletcher and Nora Olsen, this week and early into next. Jane (author of the Celaeno series and the Lyremouth Chronicles) and Nora (whose second YA novel Swans and Klons is published this month) will be chatting about their writing processes, their love of their chosen genres, and the thrill of being published.

You can find the first part of their conversation here on the BSB blog. We will be posting the second part on Friday, and the whole thing wraps up over at Women and Words on Tuesday.