Deborah Levy, 53, had gone under the reader’s radar for a while. Her last novel, Billy and Girl, was published in 1999. And then, she zoomed out of as if nowhere to be shortlisted last year for the Man Booker Prize for her new, very short novel, Swimming Home. I’d been meaning to read it for months now, and I bought, as an e-book (because I was between books and wanted to start it right away) late one night last week. I had finished it by the following evening. It kept me up at night on the eve of a busy day in the office, but was it worth it! Read more

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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Emma Donoghue’s Room must surely be one of the best novels of 2010. Its narrator is a five-year-old boy. His mother was kidnapped and thrown into a backyard dungeon when she was 19. Read more

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What does the Man Booker Prize mean for established, perhaps even great writers, who have not become huge mainstream successes? Alan Hollinghurst, who famously takes many years to write a book, said it buys time to write. Read more

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Last week, I put up a (brief) list of words I love to hate, and invited you to send in yours. The response has been very enthusiastic, thank you very much. Not a man to go back on my word, I am putting up the list of words/phrases you said made you wince/cringe. Read more

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