Being able to spend three years in the company of extraordinary characters such as Ian Fleming, Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins has been more than a privilege, it has helped make me who I am.
One of the great pleasures of re-reading something is that the pressure is off. You can skip the bits you don't fancy revisiting and just read the bits you love, secure in the knowledge that you haven't missed anything.
When Lucinda Hawksley came to revise her biography of Kate Perugini, daughter of Charles Dickens, and an accomplished artist in her own right, she found herself once more fascinated by the life of this talented and unconventional woman, whose work had been neglected for so long.
David Stuart Davies, a world authority on Sherlock Holmes, has loved the great detective since he was a boy. Here he investigates how Conan Doyle first created Holmes — and why he began to plot his own character’s death.
Victorian writers of sensation novels knew that nothing scared readers more than destabilising the everyday – especially the home. Kate Colquhoun asks why we delight in brutal stories wrapped in familiar settings from Wilkie Collins to Truman Capote. What happens when the brutality is transposed to real life, to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the murders committed by Anders Breivik?