Fiction Favorites

My Tweet campaign, #140×140, in which I choose my favorite 140 characters from fiction and describe each in 140 characters, is now in its fourth week. This week kicked off with Madame Bovary, which I first  read in the Boboli Gardens, Florence, devouring a watermelon just as Emma gulped her arsenic. To read the full list, tune into my Twitter account on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9AM Eastern Time, and I encourage you to join in the conversation.


  Isabelle Huppert as […]

By |September 23rd, 2015|0 Comments


I talked today for nearly forty minutes on Skype to my elder son, Toby. He told me that the newspapers in Britain are full of the revelations in a new book by the Tory ex-Party Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft about David Cameron having congress with a pig when an undergraduate at Oxford, as part of his initiation into a select dining club there.


 One of the pleasures of our conversations together is that Toby puts up with his father’s awful puns. […]

By |September 23rd, 2015|0 Comments


At supper the other night, somehow the talk turned to prostitutes. I said I had known one. Of course, I was asked to say more. So I said more.

Back in 1991, I was phoned by an old friend, a partner at Curtis Brown, the literary agents. A woman had approached him wanting help writing her autobiography. She seemed to require more attention than an agent could normally give; as at that moment I was between jobs, would I be interested? […]

By |September 16th, 2015|0 Comments

Working with Giuliani

This year’s anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York has come and gone, but not before my elder son sent us a touching email, headed ‘Solidarity,’ and beginning ‘Hey. Just want to let you know my thoughts are with New York.’ It took me back to my own memories of 9/11, and how I was due to be close to the Twin Towers, for a dentist’s appointment. Most unusually, I completely forgot it, so was not in the danger area. […]

By |September 14th, 2015|0 Comments
  • How to Write Like Tolstoy


I’m new to all this, but over the coming months I hope to blog frequently, at least twice a week. In particular, I will be giving tips on writing, most of them taken from How To Write like Tolstoy, which Random House (U.S.) will be publishing next May (2016). The effect will be to make you rush out and buy several copies of the book, and then sit in stunned amazement at the wisdom and wit in the pages before […]

By |August 14th, 2015|0 Comments

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