Jenny Colgan

How to snare your reader: the secret of a good blurb

It sounds disingenuous, not to say dis-respectful, but as a writer of 40 books, give or take, I never read blurbs. I can’t bear to. I love stories and am terrified of them being spoiled. There is no obvious twist or murderer so clearly signposted that I will ever try to guess them as I

What is the secret of Duran Duran’s durability?

In my second year at secondary school we were all deeply envious of a girl named Judi Taylor because, obviously, her name was only three letters away from John Taylor, the world’s most beautiful man, which meant she probably had the best chance of marrying him. I was thinking about this the other day just

House of horrors: Girl A, by Abigail Dean, reviewed

If the last quarter of 2020 saw a glut of novels published, of which there were winners (Richard Osman) and losers (in a just world, Piranesi would still be at number one), January is a less frenzied time for new writers to launch. Even so, there are often hyped and hot new books — among

Deborah Orr rages against her small-town upbringing

Unlike a lot of people in the media, I didn’t personally know Deborah Orr, but I know many who did, and the intensity of their love for her burned very bright after her death in October. They spoke of her wild beauty, her fierce passions and smoky laughter; what great company she was; how every

More secrets and symbols

Being reflexively snotty about Dan Brown’s writing is like slagging off Donald Trump’s spelling: it just entrenches everyone’s position. In a world where a quarter of people read literally no books in any given year, can we give each other a break on this kind of thing? If you found Angels and Demons good fun,

A game of cat-and-mouse

All Involved, Ryan Gattis’s breakout novel about the LA riots of 1992, was an absolute blast. Ballsy, vivid and immersive, it took various voices from the gangs, from families left behind and the thin blue line, joining them in a rousing cacophony that made up a frightening mosaic of a hot, heady, violent time. In

Cheating death

2016 was probably the year even the most optimistic of us — those who can genuinely square the new populist politics with a bright future for truth-seekers, scientists and rational thinkers — gave up on the possibility of time travel. Surely, on every rally stage there should have been at least one white man from