Penguin mugs

This week it’s a pleasure to bring you an interview with A. J. (Andrea) Ashworth, short story writer and wordsmith extraordinaire.  I first met Andrea when she came on an Arvon course at Lumb Bank in 2010, which I was hosting, and warmed to her because she said lots of nice things about the food (always guaranteed to get you into my good books!).  It’s been great to get to know her better, and follow her career.  Since that week at Lumb Bank, Andrea has won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize for  her first collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here which was published by Salt in November 2011.  She was shortlisted for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.  Here she tells us why she’s passionate about astronomy, the short story form and why she likes nosing into other people’s houses….

Andrea is offering a free copy of Somewhere Else, or Even Here to one reader who leaves a comment at the end of the post.  We’ll be randomly selecting a winner on Friday, 28 September. [click to continue…]


One of the aims of the ‘Literary Sisters’ series is to celebrate the work of some brilliant women writers out there.  So it’s a delight to feature Kate Long here this week.  I’m a big fan of Kate’s work.  Her characters are wonderfully believable, flesh and blood people.  She explores the complex dynamics of family life with insight, sensitivity and humour.  For a bestselling novelist, she is refreshingly down to earth about the writing process, and in the interview below she reveals how being read stories early by her mother shaped her imagination and how she juggles writing with her own role as a mum.

Kate is giving away a copy of her latest novel Before She Was Mine to two readers who leave a comment at the end of the post.  Winners will be drawn on Friday 14 September, so you’ve plenty of time!

In common with many of her other novels, Before She Was Mine is preoccupied with relationships between mothers and daughters: the central character, Freya, is caught between birth mum Melody and adoptive mum Liv.  It’s a brilliant read.  So if you don’t win the giveaway, I’d advise you to buy it, or borrow it from your library; save it for a long bath or – even better – a rainy weekend afternoon when you can savour it and read the whole thing cover to cover. [click to continue…]