Monthly Archives: October 2011

getting out a bit more

Back from a glorious morning at the Guildford Book Festival – glorious, not least, for dragging me out into the dawn in Dorset, and the mist curving over the hils as the sun rose red. After a frustrating week of plotting – a film treatment, of all things – it was good fun to arrive at the Electric Theatre and find myself amongst friends old and new, readers, writers – and Tim O’Kelly, who runs the One Tree Bookshop in Petersfield. Tim’s shop is what all book shops should be, and the Guardian have just said so here:

The event was a ‘Reader’s Day’, which meant a medley of small and large events with various authors including Elizabeth Speller, Mark Mills, Suzannah Dunn, S.J. Parris (aka Stephania Merritt) and Imogen Robertson, for whom I feel an avuncular affection, having given her a well-deserved good review in the New York Times for her first book, Instruments of Darkness. A great deal of laughter, some very interesting book chat, and – as ever – three cheers for the librarians of Surrey, who turned out as volunteers to make sure we got to the sandwiches.

Coming home I listened to Katie Fforde enthusing about Georgette Heyer; she was, apparently, extremely rude about all her millions of fans. Perhaps she should have gone to the Electric?

Writing – or idling?

This morning, after the usual flurry of sending the children off to school, I found myself still in pyjamas and so I got back into bed, to read a bit, and maybe think.

Kate, just about to do a school run herself, didn’t think it looked much like work. Her whole attitude bristled with suspicion. Which raises the question of what, exactly, writing does look like.

I suppose St Jerome is the proper model.

But later, perched Jerome-like in front of my screen, I happened to come across this lovely literary blog, with a review of Lords of the Horizons, at

To the casual observer, I was by then at work, like our saint here. But actually I was just messing about.

Come along! Events in the next month…

Guildford Book festival – Join Jason at the Reader’s Day on Saturday October 15th. 

that’s bound to be jolly, and then at Daunt’s Book Shop 

Roger Crowley in conversation with Jason Goodwin

Wednesday, 19th October at 7.00pm in Marylebone

A magisterial work of gripping history, Roger Crowley’s City of Fortune tells the story of the Venetian ascent from lagoon dwellers to the greatest power in the Mediterranean – an epic five-hundred-year voyage that encompassed crusade and trade, plague, sea battles and colonial adventure.

In Venice, the path to empire unfolded in a series of extraordinary contests – the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the fight to the finish with Genoa and a desperate defence against the Turks. Under the lion banner of St Mark, Venice created an empire of ports and naval bases, which funnelled the goods of the world through its wharfs. In the process the city became the richest place on earth – a brilliant mosaic fashioned from trade on one hand, and plunder on the other. The story is told in a gripping narrative that will fascinate anyone who loves Venice and the Mediterranean world.

Jason Goodwin made his name with wonderful travel writing, and he has gone on to enjoy huge success with his superb Ottoman thrillers that center on the seductive character of Yashim the Eunuch. The latest in the series, An Evil Eye, was published in the summer.

Tickets are £8 (including a glass of wine and 20% off the speaker’s books). They may be purchased from our Marylebone shop in person, with credit/debit card by telephone (020 7224 2295) or here online.


Eype Centre for the Arts Autumn 2011 ‘Book ‘n Author’ Week Literary Festival in Dorset, on Friday 21st October

Friday October 21st at 6.30pm: An evening of Turkish Delight – a Turkish buffet followed by a talk by JASON GOODWIN – scholar of the Ottoman empire and author ofAN EVIL EYE, the latest of the Yashim detective series.

AN EVIL EYE, the latest of the Yashmin detective seriesIncreasingly drawn to 19th century Istanbul life and Turkish cooking we are hosting a buffet of delicious Turkish food to be followed by a talk by Jason on what draws him to the city where East meets West. An accomplished travel writer he has in the past few years turned his considerable skills to writing detective novels set in Istanbul in the early 1800s. His first in the series The Janissary Tree introduced Yashim, the Turkish slipper wearing debonair detective which became a best seller and won the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America in 2007. This was followed by The Snake Stone and The Bellini Card. These have been translated into more than 40 languages. An Evil Eye is the latest in the series. A review of the book in the Independent says, ‘Historical novels may be sometimes lightly regarded, but this one is full of the virtues of that genre, bringing to life an immeasurably different world’ and ‘The bare outlines are enlivened by Goodwin’s skilful use of colour and detail, especially Yashim’s recipes, which set the reader drooling.’


Turkish Delight evening on Friday 21st with Jason Goodwin at £12.00 to include buffet

Available from the Bridport Tourist Information Centre on 01308 424901.


The Bridport Literary Festival

The Festival Debate
Friend or Foe?
Dr. Philip Mansel – author of LEVANT: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean, Roger Crowley – author ofCITY OF FORTUNE: A History of Venice, Professor Norman Stone – author of TURKEY: A Short History and Jason Goodwin creator of the ‘Yashim’ mysteries. Turkey has always been at loggerheads with Europe. Our 4 historians debate how European is Turkey and how Turkish is Europe? The relationship has always been marked by links as well as by conflicts – in diplomacy, culture and economics.
Thursday 10 November 6:30pm
Tickets: £8.00