Power grabs

The Death of Caesar, Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798 (public domain)

In ancient Rome, grabbing power was the default way to become emperor. Even in the Republic, achieving consulship required some serious bribery and corruption, subverting the process, whipping up the emotions of the people with simplistic slogans and the like. Power rarely passed cleanly or without […]

Why litfests are important

Signing for a reader

I was delighted and flattered when I received an invitation to speak at the Charroux LitFest here in deepest Poitou-Charentes in France. This is my home area, and being part of the inaugural year of a new litfest is thrilling. You see, I love conferences, book fairs, launches and literary festivals whether I’m a delegate, helper, […]

Quebec - a hub of history

Samuel de Champlain overlooking the St Lawrence River

I’m delighted to have visited Québec, a city at a pivotal geographic and historic place. I’m told it’s the oldest established city in North America. Well, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula in  1534, claiming the land in the name of King Francis […]

Stopped by the forces of law and order

Driving along the main road, I’m happy there are only 11 kilometres to home. I slow down to pass through a village of older cream stone grey-slated houses, interspersed with Roman tile roofed single-storey homes. Halfway through, I reach the open area to the side, not even a proper village square. A blue-uniformed armed figure […]

Meet David Ebsworth's Napoleonic women warriors

A welcome return visit from my writing friend David Ebsworth telling us about his next project …

1815. The 200th anniversary is looming. A passion for the Napoleonic period is tugging at my writing hand. Yes, I thought, my next one will be about Waterloo. But from what angle?

I began looking for the real-life […]

A local litfest in France

Last weekend, I spent two lovely days at a local literary festival  at the village of Saint-Clémentin in the Deux-Sèvres. Guests included Michèle Roberts, Leigh Russell and Blake Morrison, plus a number of local writers and poets.

Walking with poetry – the mill

 

 

There were walks with poetry, writing projects with local […]