Review of Nikolai Leskov stories

A new edition of the selected stories of Nikolai Leskov (1831-95)! Although less widely known than Tolstoy or Chekhov, he was admired by both. First published by Dostoevsky, Leskov is credited with creating the most comprehensive portrayals of Russian life in the 19th century. His novella, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk was made into an opera…

Read More

What Manchester means to me

When I was a child I lived in a council flat on the seventh floor of a tower block in Ashton-under-Lyne. I spent a lot of time on the balcony, looking out towards Manchester. Manchester to me was a long line of bright lights on the horizon. It was also the city where my mum…

Read More

Naughty Sophia

Well! I’ve just discovered that Naughty Sophia was written by Winifred Mary Letts, who was born on 10 February 1882 in Broughton, Salford, and died in 1972! A word to the wise – never put Naughty Sophia into a search engine without adding ‘children’s story’  first… But, several pages of Italian dominatrices later, I’ve found the book!…

Read More

Write Practice

At some point in my childhood I announced that I wanted to be a writer. I usually say I was seven years old, but this may be apocryphal – the age to which defining moments are regularly attributed. However, I do remember completing some four-line stanzas about fairies, and announcing my intention to my mother…

Read More

From Court to Cloister

From Court to Cloister After nine years of research there is one moment that stands out to me, among all the remarkable events of the Wars of the Roses. The event I am talking about took place in October 1459, at the Battle of Ludlow, which is also known as the Battle of Ludford Bridge…

Read More

Reading the Market

  Obviously, people read for different reasons; to switch off, to turn on, to be informed about the world they live in or to escape from it; for research or for relaxation.  Various studies into reading fiction have investigated this, though none of them comprehensively. In 2005 the British Marketing Council conducted a survey into…

Read More