What I'm reading...

This is the first book I finished in 2017, and I loved it. My Name is Lucy Barton makes you think about family, about the past, and about memory.

Elizabeth Strout dispenses with sentimentality, preferring a quiet yet luminous voice to tell the story of Lucy Barton, who, having fallen gravely ill, is reunited with her estranged mother in a hospital room. Over the course of several nights, the pair talk more than they may have done in their entire relationship. The beauty of this story, told from some point in the future, is that though much is explored, not everything is resolved. 

Strout handles deprivation, both emotional and material, and the complexities of family bonds with deftness. The reader is allowed room to fully consider the impact of a bad start in life on the protagonist. 

There are also some beautiful insights on writing and the writing life, as Lucy Barton is taking the first steps towards becoming a successful author. 


The Black Country has a rich literary heritage, and a new festival aims to explore and celebrate the creative life of the region.

The Wolverhampton Original Literary Festival (WOLF) will be staged from 27-29th January 2017, featuring readings, workshops, theatre, poetry and performance.

I'll be appearing alongside Kerry Hadley-Pryce, R.M. Francis and Paul McDonald on Saturday 28th January at an event looking at the dark side of Black Country literature. Unlooked For Places exposes the 'murky underbelly of life'. 

Further literature-related events can be found at WOLF, and more announcements will follow shortly.