Saturday, March 17, 2018

160th Celebrations

This weekend my head will be full of music.  Join me if you can at the Caird Hall, Dundee at 7:30 on Sunday 18 March, where the Dundee Choral Union will be celebrating their 160th anniversary with works by Arthur Sullivan, George Oldroyd and Antonin Dvorak.

And if you can't make it, here's what we'll be closing the evening with -

Gorgeous, isn't it?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Creative Process 2

Second in an occasional series on the creative process* - and because it was foggy last night - I give you the large, elusive idea that may come clear, or may just tantalise and fade away ...

* see also here

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Pushkin Prize 2018

When World Book Day week in the UK and heavy snowfalls coincide, there can be a fair whack of travel anxiety.  My WBD week was no exception, but I had a secret weapon to help me deal with delays, cancellations, general uncertainty and really, really cold winds ...  

I had this year's Pushkin Prize entries to read!  

I'm pleased to be a judge again, sharing the post with Carnegie-medal-winner Theresa Breslin.  If you want to know more about this excellent initiative, fix yourself a cuppa and watch the video below.  Even if you are in the throes of snow grumps, it will lift your spirits.  Guaranteed.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Creative Process

Part of my birthday celebrations included a gentle wander around the National Museum of Scotland, my default Edinburgh destination.  I always find something I hadn't noticed before, and this time, it was the section on Fashion, and in particular, the bit about hats.  There were some amazing hats and there was a slide show in a box, telling me about some of the work of designers Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy.  When I saw this hat, I thought 


Both hat and hair tell you so much about what it's like to write a novel.  Well, my novels, any way.  I may not have her cheekbones, but otherwise this could be A Portrait of the Writer at Work.  Fabulous.

The Girl Who Lived in a Tree Fall 2008 collection
(apologies for photo quality - I just had my phone and it's a photo of a slide show)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Malmo Aquarium

If I'm being honest, the Swedish pastries that featured in my week did not stay long enough on their plates to be photographed.  So instead, I have some pictures from the Malmo Aquarium -

As Barry Norman never said, "And why not?"

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Swedish Fika for Me

Next week I am doing a whirlwind day of events at Bladins International School in Malmo* in Sweden.  I am trying to memorise the important words and phrases, such as Thank You, Where is Bladins? and I am allergic to pepper (the seasoning).**  But I am already fluent in the most important word of all - fika.  Coffee and cake and chat.  What more do you need, to make the world a better place?

* I don't know how to show umlauts, so you'll just have to imagine them in the appropriate places.
** Tack, Var ar Bladins, Jag ar allergisk mot peppar.  Goggle translate never lies, right?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

A Deadlineophile

I like deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise.  They help in a job that can be pretty shapeless.  Lady Murasaki, below, for example, clearly has no deadline and, if my eyes do not deceive me, a blank page in front of her.

My current deadline was to have been to have the first draft of Book B, mentioned a few weeks ago, finished by Jamie and Astrid's wedding in Jakarta on 5 May.  It looks as if the wedding is now going to be in August, but I'm still going to aim for the 5 May.  Round about the 4 May, I may very well be posting about the softness of deadlines, but for now - ONWARDS!