We need clarity on MoD cuts

Here is my latest article published in the Guardian:

For people like me, who have close relatives in the armed forces, the recent shake-up in the Ministry of Defence and the mixed messages coming from defence secretary Liam Fox and the prime minister, David Cameron, have been very confusing.

My fiance will be deployed to Afghanistan later this year – an arduous task in itself, let alone during a recession that is putting increasing strain on equipment and manpower.

Published on 17-06-10. Read on here

A Taste of the Best Modern Spanish Fiction

Here is my first blog for Booktrust:

Sometimes the prospect of reading a translated novel can seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s not all about the War and Peace’s and Don Quixote’s of this world. Many of you will have come across Lucia Graves’ beautiful translation of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento), but here I hope to draw attention to a taste of some lesser-known delights from peninsular Spain.

For anyone interested in the history of the Spanish Civil War, you cannot get much better than Juan Goytisolo. Although he has written many great novels, Marks of Identity (Señas de Identidad) tells the story of a Spanish exile’s return from Paris to his family home in Barcelona and provides a fantastic introduction to just some of the literature which was inspired by the Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. Another worthwhile read is Soldiers of Salamis (Soldados de Salamina) by Javier Cercas, which humanely reveals how the Civil War has permeated Spain’s modern-day conscious. Anne McLean’s translation of the novel was notably awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2004.

Published on 14-06-10. Read on here

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