This year, London Book & Screen Week will be taking place from 13th – 19th April, uniting readers, writers, gamers and film fans, with hundreds of events taking place across the capital that celebrate stories and the written word in all its forms.
You’ll find lots of events are listed at: http://www.londonbookandscreenweek.co.uk/
It’s at time like this that I wish that Cornwall wasn’t quite so far from London; but I’m lucky that books, films and art can transport me back there, without having to worry about practicalities, and without having to stay at his particular point in history ….
I mention this because last week I was invited to take part in a blog tour.
To celebrate this year’s London Book and Screen Week, five top authors will be revealing their favourite books about London on seven top blogs over seven days, as part of the first ever ‘London Book & Screen Week Blog Tour’ .
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And so I am pleased to present Patricia Duncker, the author of six wonderfully diverse novels, two volumes of short stories, and many literary essays and scholarly articles.
I’m reading her most recent novel Sophie and the Sibyl, published by Bloomsbury this week. It’s inspired by a chapter in the life of George Eliot, it’s intriguing, and it makes me very interested to know what she has to say.
To celebrate London Book & Screen Week, Patricia will be interviewed by John Mullan as part of a Bloomsbury Book Club event on Wednesday 15th April. Tickets are available here.
And today we have her thoughts about books and London:
My top 3 books about/set in London
1. Charles Dickens Bleak House (1853)
The very first word of this grandiose polemic on the condition of England is London. The scene opens in the court of Chancery and the action concentrates on the machinations of the lawyers in Lincoln’s Inn. Mr. Tulkinghorn is the evil, prying spider, uncovering family secrets. My sister-in-law is a barrister. She tells me all the lawyers love this book.
2. Bram Stoker Dracula (1897)
The fabulous Count starts buying up real estate in Purfleet even before he comes to London. Van Helsing arrives at Liverpool Street and dramatic vampire action takes place on Hampstead Heath. London is the prize and the night streets are unsafe when the Count leaves his coffin.
3. Michèle Roberts Paper Houses (2007)
This memoir of the 1970s and beyond is a portrait of the artist as a witty, radical young woman. Roberts has written many of her novels in and about London. Here she tells her story of art and life through the locations where she lived and wrote. No one else captures in such sensual prose the smells, sounds and textures of the London streets where she walks.
My top place to read in London
The café nearest to the Primrose Hill bookshop in Regent’s Park Road. I buy a heap of books at the shop and then retire to the café to gloat over my purchases!
My favourite on screen/video game book adaptation
My fave book to screen adaptation is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1990s version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Gary Oldman as the Count. It has the immortal line ‘ I have crossed oceans of time to be with you’, and catches the theatrical qualities of the Gothic.
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And now I’m thinking about that ….. Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill ….. conjured up by Dickens at the start of Bleak House again.
So please distract me – tell me which book, which film, which anything at all, transports you to London!