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This category contains 22 posts

Two weeks in the Western Cape, South Africa

It’s two years since I last wrote a travel piece that’s not book related, and since real life kicked in immediately following our Christmas trip, it’s taken a couple of weeks to get round to this one.  I find myself saying ‘it already seems quite distant’ and yet, like any trip I’ve ever made, I … Continue reading

To 2017 and making things happen

This is just a quick post to wish you all a very happy new year. I’ve returned invigorated from a glorious two-week burst of summer in South Africa – lots to say about the trip and since I love travel writing and it’s been a long time since I wrote about anywhere except France, next … Continue reading

Finding the Words

‘There are no words.’ ‘Speechless.’ ‘Unspeakable.’ How often have you said, read or heard one of the above this year?  They seem to encapsulate everything 2016 will be remembered for, alluding to the inadequacy of language to convey the full force of shock, outrage, disillusionment, at one event after another. The irony is that we … Continue reading

Autumn in Paris

  I’ve recently returned from a typically intense five days in Paris, where I was not so much planning my next novel as wandering around waiting for the elements to take shape – something I’ve previously described as like looking at the world through an extra powerful pair of glasses.  To some extent, I’ve been doing this … Continue reading

What Elena Ferrante’s writing means to me

After an Easter trip to southern Italy that was directly inspired by Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels (and feeling bereft on finishing the fourth and final one at Christmas), I recently mentioned on Twitter that I was planning a blog post on what this extraordinary author’s writing means to me if I could find the words. And … Continue reading

New year, new books, new horizons

Just a quick note to wish all my subscribers and readers a very happy new year!  I hope you had a good break with some time to read as well as all the festive stuff. We spent a wonderful cosy week in the last home of Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome in the southern Lake District with lots … Continue reading

Malaysia – Two Weeks in the Tropics

Travelling is a passion I share with my family.  My husband and I started planning a big trip almost as soon as we met.  Our sons, 16 and 12, have seen a lot of the world with us.  Our horizons have broadened along with our awareness of how fortunate we are in so many ways. We decided to … Continue reading

Three Days in Barcelona

If you were in the UK last winter, you’ll remember the rain that went on for months.   By January I was googling cheap flights to get away for Easter weekend (there weren’t any). Copenhagen was looking like the best bet. I fancied making like Saga Norén – albeit without the puce overcoat, there are limits … Continue reading

Writers on Location – Naomi Wood on Hemingway’s Havana

I’m very excited to be introducing a new regular slot on the Literary Sofa: WRITERS ON LOCATION, inspired by my own love of travel (and the way it, in turn, inspires me) and the many novels which have a particularly vivid, interesting or exotic sense of place. Naomi Wood’s novel Mrs Hemingway, one of my … Continue reading

The City and the Road – August in America

It’s good to be back on the Literary Sofa again after spending almost all of August in the States. If you know my blog or my fiction you already know that I have a thing about America which dates all the way back to my very first taste of it as a 22-year-old.  Somewhat bizarrely, … Continue reading