Month: July 2016

A Moment of Silence – Part Five

Daniel had one good pair of trousers, and one new enough jacket which Sam had bought him for his own wedding. Once dressed he thought he looked the part of a gentleman. A man about to embark upon married life, he reminded himself. It all felt like a dream still. The pragmatism that had been literally beaten into him by his own father, God … Read More A Moment of Silence – Part Five

Hidden London – Clapham South Deep-Level Shelter

Last Sunday was a nice warm summer day, Clapham Common was packed with picnickers, families and people playing football. What better to do than head eleven stories underground for a tour of Clapham South deep-level shelter?? The excellent London Transport Museum operate several tours as Hidden London: 55 Broadway (London’s first skyscraper) and Euston station’s lost tunnels are now sold out for the foreseeable … Read More Hidden London – Clapham South Deep-Level Shelter

Books – The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

Kate Saunders is perhaps best known for her recent children’s novel Five Children on the Western Front, a tribute to the stories of E. Nesbit which won the 2014 Costa Children’s Book Award. I heard Kate speak about 18 months ago while I was at the Faber Academy and she mentioned that she was writing a series for Bloomsbury about a Victorian lady detective. … Read More Books – The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

A Moment of Silence – Part Four

Dawn brought no ready solution to Daniel’s problems, only a head that ached. When he went down to breakfast, a note was lying by his place at the table. It was from Jean, confirming his visit for midday. Daniel briefly shared the conversation that he had had with Jean the previous evening with Sam and his wife. ‘I presume that he means to bring … Read More A Moment of Silence – Part Four

Books – The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse is the much anticipated follow-up to Jessie Burton’s massive 2014 bestseller, The Miniaturist. The difficult second novel syndrome is well-documented and so the big question surrounding this novel was: does it deliver? I quite enjoyed The Miniaturist but didn’t love it, a personal preference as I thought it was well written and covered some interesting subjects. I just didn’t fall in love … Read More Books – The Muse by Jessie Burton

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born on 15 August 1875 in Holborn, son of a Sierra Leonean doctor and an English mother. It is thought that his father had already returned to Sierra Leone before Samuel’s mother, Alice, knew that she was pregnant (the couple were not married) and so he never knew he had a son in London. Alice named her son for the poet, … Read More Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Books – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

  The summer of 2016 is turning out to be a great one for the historical novel, especially those set in Britain. And with real life events growing steadily more depressing, there has never been a better time to retreat to the past, exploring a place which is similar enough to feel familiar, yet just different enough to bring us into another world. The … Read More Books – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

A Moment of Silence – Part Three

Click here to catch up: A Moment of Silence – Part One A Moment of Silence – Part Two Daniel declined Sam’s offer of a ride back to Belgravia. He was staying with his friend, in his newly purchased house in Eaton Square, but he needed time to think. And a stiffer drink than the glorified wine that Sam foisted upon him at every … Read More A Moment of Silence – Part Three

The daughters of Ira Aldridge

Until recently many people hadn’t heard of the actor Ira Aldridge, a black Shakespearean actor. Aldridge was at one point, in the mid-nineteenth century, the highest paid actor in Russia. I came across his story when I started researching my novel, set in 1850s London, and decided to use his experiences as a template for my fictional family,  the Johnsons. After successful runs of Lolita Chakrabarti’s play … Read More The daughters of Ira Aldridge

Books – Negroland by Margo Jefferson

  As a Pulitzer Prize winning book and theatre critic, Margo Jefferson is well used to writing on the arts, but has also become known for her political writings. In this, a memoir of growing up in a successful black family in Chicago, she has turned her critical eye on her own family, examining the community she refers to as Negroland: ‘a small region of Negro … Read More Books – Negroland by Margo Jefferson

A Moment of Silence – Part Two

If you missed the first part of this short story please click below: A Moment of Silence – Part One Celine and Maria, Sam’s wife, were found in the McCarthy’s private box at Covent Garden. The men entered quietly, the prima donna in full flow mere feet from where the women sat. Daniel sat next to Celine and she took his larger hand in hers. It was … Read More A Moment of Silence – Part Two

Novel London – 1st July readings

Last Friday I did my first real public reading on Novel London’s historical fiction evening at Waterstones Islington. I say the first real reading as my only previous reading was for only a couple of minutes in front of fellow students and some agents at the Faber Academy. There was something protected about reading in front of friends and colleagues who were in the … Read More Novel London – 1st July readings