Neil White is a criminal lawyer who writes crime fiction novels. ‘People are much worse than writers are able to imagine them.’

What was the first book to make an impression on you?Any one of the Enid Blyton Famous Five books. I remember well the feeling of mild terror as the m(...)

What’s hot, what’s not

HOT Cleancut and cleanshaven No more floppy fringes Scrumdiddly’s megalicious ice cream sundaes Get them now in Dún Laoghaire and Donabate (...)

LT Meade’s A World of Girls, which sold an impressive 37,000 copies, had a huge influence on girls’ school stories of the twentieth century by the likes of Enid Blyton

Imagine if JK Rowling’s name rang no bells in people’s minds 100 years from now. Rowling: so ubiquitous, influential and popular – the thought seems a(...)

Carys Bray: “I don’t give unsolicited advice. I don’t like it when writers pontificate about the way to do things. I think people need to discover what works for them”

Carys Bray’s debut novel, A Song for Issy Bradley, is published by Hutchinson on June 19th. “Miracles are like birds, they zip through the gap betw(...)

John Boyne: “Life is short; I feel no compunction to finish a novel that is boring me. I’ll read something else.” Photograph: Dave Meehan

John Boyne’s latest novel is Stay Where You Are And Then Leave. His new novel for adults – his first set in contemporary Ireland – will be publishe(...)

Anakana Schofield: Every book I read seems to change the way I think about fiction. Sometimes they drive me to despair by indicating how much more we need to demand from our fiction and other times they send me into orbit with the possibilities they reveal

Anakana Schofield is the author of the award-winng debut novel, Malarky, which is out now in paperback, a funny and moving tale of sexual shenaniga(...)

Many school libraries are very weak. For example, my library has old classics such as The Famous Five by Enid Blyton, which my grandmother has read. B(...)

Illustration by William Bock from The Dead by James Joyce, published by Paravion Press

There’s a moment in Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch where the first crumb of comfort comes in the shape of cheese on toast. Her lead characte(...)

The Conservatives hold the majority of seats along the southern end of the proposed HS2 high-speed train route, seats that will be crucial if the party is to have any chance of single-party rule after the next British general election. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

In times past, British monarchs had to keep a close eye on the barons in the shires, fearful that any change in loyalty threatened disaster to their h(...)

It has taken me nearly 30 minutes to write this sentence, and it’s not even the sentence I was planning to write. I was halfway through (...)