Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tea at the Grand Tazi

Alexandra Singer is a new Manchester-based writer with a remarkable story of her own - in 2008 when she was just twenty five, she suffered a near fatal neurological illness that left her in a coma for three months, and she was then told she would never walk again. While she was in hospital her brother found the manuscript of a novel she'd written - but had little memory of. Her story has a happy ending: tomorrow (March 1st) Tea at the Grand Tazi is published by Legend Press - and Alexandra is on the road to recovery.

Best of all, her novel is great...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

How not to get fat

I bounced into the health clinic expecting a glowing report, because I'm not in bad shape really, when you consider I've got two kids and a serious chocolate habit.

After lovely nurse Ruth stabbed me with a drawing pin I began to regret my decision to have a check-up  - after all I could have spent lunchtime reading Heat magazine - but now it was too late. Ruth pumped my thumb to get out sufficient blood ("like milking a cow") and popped the samples in a machine the size of my phone. Then came the really bad news ...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Happy Birthday Chuck

The man this blog owes its name to is 200 today. Or would be. Charles Dickens' memory was feted today around the globe, and events will be continuing all year. In London, this exhibition traces the links between the writer and the capital city he chronicled. Dickens had links with Manchester too of course. He was close to Elizabeth Gaskell, this city's greatest nineteenth century writer; he encouraged, edited and published many of her works, and was involved, like Gaskell, in social campaigns to improve life for the poorest in and around this metropolis.

It seems fashionable to berate news organisations for marking this anniversary. Tonight writer Jenny Diski told BBC Radio 4's PM that ...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A few reasons to love a library

I visit my local library about once a week, usually with my children in tow. I value my local library because: a) the librarians don't mind if my youngest one runs around b) they have handy laminated bookmarks with reading suggestions c) it is a more culturally enriching experience for my children than anything else my local town centre has to offer and d) I love to browse, and will always come home with an unexpected title.