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A rather nasty short story

Jane Lambert in Timed Out , my first novel, does internet dating. But there the resemblance ends. Brief Encounter 2012 From Click to Click: Tales of Internet Dating, ed Barbara Lorna Hudson, Kindle e-book, 2012. A railway station isn’t like an airport. A few meeters and greeters, but not so much exuberance, fewer demonstrations of ... Read More

Books to Read Again

With my DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis (posh person’s repetitive strain injury), I’ve been writing less and reading more. And Going to Things. Less of a home body and more of a woman about town on the cultural scene in Oxford. Blackwell’s Bookshop hosted an author event with Roma Tearne on her latest novel ‘The Last Pier’. I ... Read More

‘Looking on the bright side’ or ‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’

Advice and sympathy are pouring – or rather, trickling – in. When I last blogged I was waiting for inspiration for my third novel while waiting for the verdict of The Oxford Editors on my second. The verdict was very encouraging and I have done a little revising and now wonder where to send it. ... Read More
“Well told, Barbara. But please remember to cross your ‘t’s.”

“Well told, Barbara. But please remember to cross your ‘t’s.”

Just discovered: a stash of exercise books with essays and stories written in the 1950s. So many gems, thanks to our very old-fashioned teacher who had strict rules:  ‘But’ must never begin a sentence; subjunctive essential; and big words and fancy adverbs and adjectives always welcome. I got red ticks for ‘ irreconcilable’ ‘judicious’ ‘aromatic’  ... Read More

Oxford Literary Festival. This year only got to three events, but they were all fascinating and very different and – especially today with the sun shining on all the golden stone and lots of happy people sitting in the quads – I was reminded how lucky I am to live in Oxford.   Simon Jenkins on his new book England’s 100 Best Views: not unexpectedly there were many exquisite photographs, but I also learned a lot about the history of the view and the difference between the ‘picturesque’ and the ‘romantic’. Did you know people used to sit in boats on the Wye holding up empty picture frames  and paint what they saw through them?

I’m sorry Simon Jenkins hates wind turbines so much. I’m fond of them and toy with the idea of having one as the hero of a children’s story.

Then there was AC Grayling on the subject of friendship. He’s one of my favourite lecturers and I was fascinated and moved.

And finally a group of novelists all from St Hilda’s College debating the proposition that  genre fiction is no different from literary fiction. In the course of the debate we heard  some excellent definitions of what makes a good novel whatever label it is given. No one really succeeded in winning the argument and the problem (close to my own  heart) of what bookshelf to put a ‘transgenre’ novel on doesn’t seem to be solvable.

I’m just back from Cornwall – fields of daffodils, and delicious cream teas (note judicious use of the Oxford comma). And before that I was at an awards ceremony – I was and remained on the short list for the Exeter Novel Prize. (The winner was Su Bristow with a novel called Sealskin about a mermaid.)  When I got home I found I’d got on to another short list with a ghost story I’d forgotten about.

So I’m feeling quite cheerful and intellectually nourished and fatter than I was when I wrote my last blog.



Think Week: Myth and Discovery.

What’s unique about human beings?  Not tool-making, not language, not solving physics problems. Storytelling. It’s Think Week in Oxford. A week’s worth of challenging (and free) events. The one that might be of most interest to readers of this blog was a lecture by Gregory Currie, Professor of Philosophy at York:’The Human Mind and the ... Read More