Reading, after all

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Do you remember my Reading Week – the one I could not have this year?

Well, it seems that I must have it, after all – in fact, quite a bit longer than a week, whether I want it or not. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love the chance to read, read, and read some more – and a longish vacation is something I haven’t taken in… oh, something more than a decade, I’d think. Still, I’d have vastly preferred to do without the trouble and hospitalisation that caused this one particular vacation… Continue reading

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And Back Again

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Back home, and entirely thrilled about it all – that’s what I am!

HNSScotland18 was a wonderful conference: Margaret Skea did a wonderful job of putting together an array of seminars, panels, lectures and talks – with a fascinating Scottish slant. Thanks to Stevenson and Scott, I have a fondness for the Jacobite Risings, and therefore I loved hearing about them from Maggie Craig and Trevor Royle, crossing kilted re-enactors on my way about, and being piped into dinner was a novel-worthy moment… Besides, I met such lovely people, and pitched my novel to two very nice agents – who won’t represent me, but had many interesting, helpful, and flattering things to say about my writing.

And then…

Ah well, and then there was the Short Story Competition. Let me brag and boast a little here, because the fact is that I won the competition. Remember the story that would not be written? Well, I wrote it, in the end*. I cut it frighteningly close, but managed to submit it – and… won the competition. Continue reading

HNS Scotland 18

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I’m off to HNS Scotland 18 – the Historical Novel Society’s conference, back to the UK this year – three days of talks, workshops, networking, a gala dinner complete with ceilidh, and even two pitch sessions with literary agents.

This is my second experience with the HNS: two years ago I was preparing for HNS Oxford 16, and I was very excited, but also terrified at the prospect of meeting two agents – and, if I’m honest, a little nervous about the whole thing as well… you know, telling people that yes, I’ve written this novelĀ  in a language that is not my own – oh, your language, incidentally… Continue reading

Ferragosto

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524458_closed sign. jpgIn Italy it was Ferragosto, yesterday…

A bleaker Ferragosto, this year – because of what happened in Genoa the other day, with the motorway bridge collapsing – but still, Ferragosto.

Feriae Augusti, back in the day (and the day was 18 b.C.) when Augustus thought it both nice and expedient to have a public festival right after the harvest season, and named it after himself.

It used to be a mixed affair of rest and play for men and beasts, a holiday of eating and drinking toasts to the Emperor, horse races, a day of rest even for oxen and donkeys… Continue reading

Before and After

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HensloweBWThere is no doubt that, when it comes to researching historical novels, there is a Before the Internet and an After the Internet.

I daresay the same applies to a lot of fields – but let me stick to mine: I’m old enough to remember a time when, if you were Italian and wanted, say, to read Henslowe’s Diary, your best option was a trip of several hundred kilometers – to read the book in Bologna or Venice, supposing someone had told you that Nineteenth Century copies of JP Collier’s edited version were to be found there at all*… Continue reading

The Lazy Month of August

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Yes, yes – what with the heat, and so many people going on vacation, and work slowing down*, August is a lazy month: time thickens and slackens, and one wants to slow down as well.

It’s that time of the year when I begin to toy with notions of a reading week: Henry Treece, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Sabatini, and a few more are singing like paper sirens – or digital sirens in a few cases. Continue reading

The road not written – another writing prompt

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Do you remember last Saturday’s post, and the prompt with the anthropomorphised cities?

Well, a couple of interesting things happened because of that post. The first is Davide Mana‘s take on the game – which, it seems, has produced not only four lovely sketches, but also the resurrection of an old and intriguing project of his.

And then, in the comments, Davide Tessitore wrote this… Continue reading

London is a Teenager (Writing Promtps)

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There are heaps of writing prompt sites, out there. Really: the Net is a-swarm with them – and, under other circumstances, I might have missed Writing Prompts

And it would have been a shame – because, you see, I came across it via this prompt…

…And, while I don’t particularly think that London is a teenager, I was definitely hooked. I followed the link, and found the site’s page of prompts for history and social studies, filled with other equally interesting and unusual prompts.

The site’s author, you see, is a teacher, and uses these prompts in the class, but they are perfect for grown-ups too, I find – all the more because it’s not so often that one finds history-geared prompts. I’m most definitely giving a few of them a try – either for my own freewriting, or with my Scribblers group…

What about you, o Readers? What is, for instance, your city? And why?