Category Archives: New Year

2012 in Review

2012So where have I been this past month!? Well… I can’t really say. It seemed to fly by and before I knew it the work Christmas party had sprung itself on me, then the mayhem that was Christmas, followed by the typically irritating bout of illness, and the swift passing of the Christmas holiday that right now feels like it’s been somewhat wasted. And I haven’t written any posts!

But this is not a time to whine. This is a time to reflect on the good bits, wave away the bad bits and look forward to next year – just like every other blog!

So what were my highlights of 2012? Continue reading

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The January Slump

So the year has started, not with a bang, not with anything very interesting happening at all really. In fact, apart from starting a new role at work, life has fairly plodded. This is great! you think; this means lots of time to dedicate to seeing friends, drinking tea, attending to blogs and even (dare I say it) doing some writing! I am, after all, a social animal with a penchant for tea, blogging and writing. Yup, you’d think so.

Instead, I had forgotten how exhausting it is actually doing something each day. Nearly two weeks off with nothing better to do than eat and vegetate, and my “writing muscle” has gone weak, limp and useless. I’m the writer’s version of a flabby ex-gym-bunny. From time to time I push myself to blogging, if I have any energy left after throwing myself into my new job. (Serene as a swan on top, paddling like mad underneath). The new job is exciting, busy and completely and totally NEW. Learning on the job, for some reason, seems more tiring than anything else.

I have reached the January Slump – that quiet, forgotten bit of the year where everything and everyone takes a huge breather. Including, it seems, writing. The only bit that hasn’t slowed down is my five-cups-a-day tea habit (I think it’s around five cups a day now anyway). Even now, on a Sunday afternoon when I have nothing better to do, I am sat here with a cuppa instead of a pen.

How do you get out of your January Slump? Do you even get one?

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The Authors of 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

And without pause for breath…

The Guardian have given their predictions for the biggest authors of the New Year. One is a former journalist, another is Faber’s youngest female signing and the last is an Oxford historian. Meet the big names of 2012:

Harriet Lane
Harriet Lane had the unbelievable luck to have an entire plot suddenly occur to her…

“The plot just fell into my head, quite complete. When I dropped the kids off to school on Monday I took the laptop out to the garden where there was no Wi-Fi and started writing. It was so much unbelievable fun. I had this weird confidence about it and I just blitzed it.”

Her book, Alys, Always – published by Weidenfeld) is a thriller set in the London literary scene. Frances Thorpe is a “lowly subeditor” on a newspaper books desk, but after a car crash on an icy road and a death, our narrator manages to insinuate herself into the highest band of London literary life, in an unnerving and tense plot.

Lane worked as a subeditor for Tatler before going on to edit and write for the Observer, the Telegraph and Vogue. But in 2008 she nearly lost her sight with a chronic inflammation of the optic nerve and put on medication, ending her journalistic career. Unable to continue, she decided to join a creative writing course, and clearly the decision paid off!

Pre-order Alys, Always now

Chibundu Onuzo
20-year-old Chibundu Onuzo is not only juggling the promotion of her debut novel, but is also managing her final-year at King’s College London where she is studying history. The Nigerian writer signed a two-book deal with Faber in February last year, becoming the youngest ever woman to do so.

Her novel, The Spider King’s Daughter revolves around two Lagos teenagers – Abike, a well-to-do girl, and a young street hawker.

“It’s just interesting, how people from different classes relate to each other. Abike should relate to the hawker in the same way as she relates to her driver. But the hawker is good-looking, and speaks English well, and that makes her pause.”

The youngest daughter of two doctors, and influenced by American TV shows she watched at home in Lagos, Onuzo started writing on a whim at just 10 years old. When she moved to England to do her GCSEs, her thoughts returned to Nigeria, and this is reflected in her writing.

Her older sister encouraged her to send the first 33 pages to three agents, and Capel & Land asked for the rest. 10 months of writing, and countless redrafts, the book is ready to hit shops in March.

Pre-order The Spider King’s Daughter now

Faramerz Dabhoiwala
Philip Larkin famously decided that sexual intercourse began in 1963. But 42-year-old historian (and teacher of history at Exeter College, Oxford) Faramerz Dabhoiwala dug deeper. And after a decade worth of research, his debut book The Origins of Sex, sets out to prove that the “first sexual revolution” can be seen in the 18th Century. Even our fascination with celebrities and their sex lives can be traced back to then, with courtesans such as Kitty Fisher (pictured on the cover) flirting with the media of the time.

“I’ve always been interested in cultural differences in attitudes to sex. That may be because I grew up in Amsterdam in the 1970s and 1980s and then I moved back to England in Mrs Thatcher’s heyday to go to university, so that was a little bit of a contrast. Most of my family live in India and they have particular attitudes to sexuality. So I have always been attuned to the subject and then I had the luck of stumbling across this huge unexplored, unexplained revolution in behaviour and I just pursued it.”

A revolutionary and intriguing blend of anecdotes and analysis is hoped to appeal to everyone from schoolchildren to academics. I will leave the last words to Dabhoiwala…

“I modestly hope it will change the way that people think about sex. I could also say that people should read it because it will almost certainly improve their sex lives, but even if it doesn’t it’ll still be a really good read.”

Pre-order The Origins of Sex now

What books are you looking forward to in 2012?

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New Year’s Resolutions

Give up drinking, stop smoking, more exercise… the usual resolutions are pretty passé by now. And besides, no one ever sticks to them. I’ve heard a couple of people claim their New Year’s resolutions are not to have any resolutions. So what are my resolutions? To write a novel? Read all the books I keep getting told “everyone” should have read? Lose the Christmas belly?

To be honest, I can never decide on resolutions. I always think of one, and think it’s a brilliant idea for an hour and then realise that it’s never going to happen. My resolution is generally something about getting published, winning a competition or just finishing my novel. And come the next New Year’s, I have to make the same resolution all over again because I forgot about it by mid-January and never did it.

I could make a New Year’s resolution about blogging – more posts per day, more followers… I’d love for my fashion blog to be up there with the greats, and I’d love to have some amazing author recognise my writing blog. But actually, the only reason I started these blogs is for the sheer egotism of it – I like the sound of my own voice, so to speak.

I could promise to keep my room tidy, or not spend so much money on clothes. I could resolve to give up my five-cups-a-day tea habit (yeah right). Or I could resolve not to try anything too difficult this year, and just concentrate on living my life. After all, the world’s ending in December next year, right!? Wouldn’t it be a waste to spend it all in the gym trying to get thin for the parade past the Pearly Gates.

So this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to GET ON WITH IT.

What’s yours?

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