Learn fiction writing skills on an Arvon Writing Retreat

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Are you a fiction writer looking for help with your work? I’m delighted that I’ll be teaching a general fiction course at Arvon with fellow author Andrew Taylor, in May.

Based at The Hurst in Shropshire in the UK, this writing retreat runs from May 6th to May 11th. Andrew and I will be holding workshops and exercises around the main elements of fiction writing including character, theme, setting and narrative. Attendees also get two one-to-one sessions where we look at their specific pieces, and author David Hayden will be visiting for one evening. Plus there will be opportunities to share your work (if you want to), and plenty of writing time. And of course good food and great company. I’d love to see you there.

Find out more.

For over fifty years Arvon has been running residential writing courses in their three centres across the UK.

A Thousand Word Photos

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A little while ago I was invited to take part in a writing project run by A Thousand Word Photos, where a photographer gives three of their photographs to a writer, who then selects one which is used to inspire a 1,000 word short story. The story is then published online and read out to stroke patients around the UK, as part of the charity, Interact.

The photograph I selected (above) was taken by the renowned photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind, and without knowing anything about it, I wrote a 1000 word story called Intelligent Private Lines, which you can read here.

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A Thousand Word Photos recently held their first live event in London, where six short stories written as part of the project, were read out to the audience by actors, and the image that inspired the story was projected on the wall. I was delighted that my story was selected to be read by the actor, Jessica Raine (of Call the Midwife fame).

 

The whole project has recently been featured in British Journal of Photography.

New Cover for Bitter Orange Paperback

 

BitterOrange FINAL pb cover

The paperback of Bitter Orange will be published in the UK on 2nd May 2019. (Readers in the US will have to wait a little longer.) And I’m delighted to share with you the new cover. As you can see it’s as different as you can get from the hardback, but I hope it will intrigue and entice a whole new set of readers.

The hardback is still available in many bookshops and available to order, but if you’re waiting for the paperback publication you can pre-order now from Amazon or (preferably) your local bookshop.

Make sure you sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter or Instagram to hear about competitions to win copies of my novels. (A competition to win a copy of Swimming Lessons is running on both Twitter and Instagram until 7th February 2019.)

I’d love to know what you think about the cover – please comment below.

Buy a copy of Bitter Orange.

Signed Cards for Christmas

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If you’re thinking of buying a copy of Bitter Orange, Swimming Lessons, or Our Endless Numbered Days for someone for Christmas, let me know and I’ll send you a signed card for free, for you to include with the book.

I’m happy to post cards to anywhere in the world, just send me a message, telling me which book or books you’re buying, who I should write the card for, and what your address is.

Happy Christmas!

Bitter Orange Published in USA and Canada

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Bitter Orange is published today (October 9) in the USA and Canada. And to celebrate I’m giving away one set of all three of my novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, and a hardback copy of Bitter Orange (with its US cover).

To enter, just visit Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and follow the instructions there. The competition is open worldwide.

The Canadian cover, from House of Anansi, is almost the same as the UK version.

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Early US reviews have been great:

Kirkus (starred review)
“In the vein of Shirley Jackson’s bone-chilling The Haunting of Hill House, Fuller’s disturbing novel will entrap readers in its twisty narrative, leaving them to reckon with what is real and what is unreal. An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece.”

Entertainment Weekly
“In her new novel, Claire Fuller enhances the mystery with luscious detail: sights of ghosts, smells of overripe fruit, echoes of Cara wailing. The plot’s movements are rendered secondary, at least in the early going, to the atmosphere, and it’s to the novel’s benefit; with sensations so alive on the page, you’re constantly kept on your toes, attuned to the mania. You’ll ask, beguiled: What’s really going on here?”

Buy Bitter Orange.

Bitter Orange is Published in the UK

 

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My third novel, Bitter Orange was published in the UK last week. It was a crazy and exciting week, with a launch in London at Waterstones Covent Garden (they have lots of signed copies), and another in my home town of Winchester. I also went on a walk around London signing copies in other bookshops including Daunts, Heywood Hill, and Hatchards. It was hot! DSCF9056

The book has been getting great reviews:

“Fuller is an accomplished and serious writer who has the ability to implant interesting psychological dimensions into plotty, pacy narratives.” The Observer

“It is rare for me to put down a novel and then immediately consider rereading it to see what cleverness I might have missed. This time, though, I am tempted.” The Sunday Times

“Fuller is a master at summoning the atmosphere of a heady, hot summer, that thrums with tension.” Stylist Magazine

HatchardsRead more reviews here.

Bitter Orange has been longlisted for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. Which books are shortlisted depends on a public vote. If you’d like to vote for Bitter Orange, you can do that here. (And thank you!). Voting can be from anyone anywhere in the world, and closes at midnight on 6th August (UK time).

If you’d like to buy a copy of Bitter Orange it’s available in most UK bookshops now, or online as an audio, e-book, and hardback. Click here to see options.

 

Bitter Orange receives starred review from Kirkus

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Some early reviews from book bloggers and Amazon reviewers are already coming in for Bitter Orange (published in the UK on 2nd August, and in the US and Canada on October 9th). And I’m pleased to say the vast majority are very positive. But one that I’m especially delighted about is a starred review from Kirkus.

Kirkus is an American book review magazine which is notoriously rigorous. It reviews more than 8000 books each year, and only about 10% of these are given a star accolade.

Due to copyright restrictions, I’m not able to post the review on my website, but you can read it here.

Bitter Orange published in two months

Bitter Orange jacket: Oranges and dark leaves, with smashed plate

 

In two months, Bitter Orange, my third novel will be published in the UK by Fig Tree / Penguin. Lots of proofs have gone out, and reviews from booksellers and quotes from other authors are starting to come in, and suddenly it feels very real. Exciting and terrifying.

In anticipation of the publication, I thought you might like to read the first paragraph, and if it tempts you, links for pre-ordering are below.

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They must think I don’t have long left, because today they allow the vicar in. Perhaps they are right, although this day feels no different from yesterday, and I imagine tomorrow will go on much the same. The vicar – no, not vicar, he has a different title, I forget – is older than me by a good few years, his hair is grey, and his skin is flaky and red, sore-looking. I didn’t ask for him; what faith I’d once had was tested and found lacking at Lyntons, and before that my church attendance was a habit, a routine for Mother and me to arrange our week around. I know all about routine and habit in this place. It is what we live, and what we die, by.

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I’d love you to go into your local independent book shop and pre-order Bitter Orange, or your local chain book shop. But if that’s not possible, you can pre-order here online:  here (UK), here (US), or here (Canada).

 

The Oddest Thing Found in a UK library book

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I’ve recently had the good fortune (or perhaps misfortune) to judge the winner of the oddest thing ever found in a library book for the Reading Agency, and it was an illuminating experience.

It seems readers are a mucky lot. Librarians found a lot of unmentionables, that I’m not of course, going to mention, as well as a great deal of food. Bacon rashers – cooked and raw – featured prominently, as did chocolate bars, or their wrappers, orange peel, a chicken bone (we hope!), and mummified pizza. One librarian even found a fried egg, while another came across a kipper (luckily still in its vacuum-packed plastic).

A few readers were more considerate of those wonderful people who look after our books, and inserted between the pages ‘A Note From Emily,’ saying why she’d enjoyed the book, and in another, a letter saying how much that borrower loved their library.

But people can be forgetful, clearly grabbing the closest thing to hand to use as a bookmark, including postcards, a ‘herbal’ cigarette, train tickets, receipts, hairclips, loo roll, ribbons, spooky tarot cards, and quite a bit of money. Some of the money was reunited with its owners, as was the baby scan photo found in a parenting book.

However, librarians aren’t completely blameless when it comes to forgetfulness. Staff at one library found a debit card in a book and just as a particular librarian started criticising the stupidity of the debit card owner, she looked at the card and it was hers. Another library found a red sock in a fiction book which was claimed by an ex member of staff. When she was asked about it, she said she couldn’t find anything else to use as a bookmark.

But after sifting through all the entries, I’m pleased to announce that the winner is the entry from Rachael Smart (@smartrachael) on Twitter, who runs the book club for The Motherload. She found the sinisterly beautiful and appropriate, pressed cabbage white butterfly, ‘fragile as lace, tucked inside the pages of The Silence of the Lambs’.

Thank you to everyone who entered. You have given me a great deal of entertainment, even if that did include quite a bit of squealing in disgust.

And to read about the oddest things that Americans found in library books click here.