In this week's interview Rachel Dean talks to author Lucy Caldwell (38), who grew up in Belfast and now lives in Whitechapel, east London, with her husband Tom Routh (38) and their two children, William (5) and Orla Rose (2)
In 2010, a plane travelling from South Africa to Tripoli crashed in Libya, leaving a sole survivor in the form of nine-year-old Ruben van Assouw. A total of 103 passengers and crew members, including Ruben's mother, father and older brother, died in the crash. Ruben was found half a mile away, semi-conscious and still strapped into his aeroplane seat.
With her elfin frame, pixie haircut and dazzling smile, Frankie Bridge may look like she hasn't a care in the world. But a lifetime of mental health issues - ranging from chronic anxiety and an eating disorder to a breakdown at age 23 - has prompted the former Saturdays singer and Strictly star to write a memoir, Open, in which she discusses her experiences in the hope that others will take solace and find it helpful.
At last, I have a novel. A reporter asked me why I had suddenly decided to write a novel - in my late 60s. She saw it as a change of direction. And I remember, years ago, doing an interview with a new writer and remarking on the fact that she was 52. Imagine becoming a writer at 52!
The political scene is transforming around us at huge pace, with Scottish, English and Irish fist-pumping nationalism on the rise, leaving Northern Irish Protestants feeling buffeted by external forces. It's true that Brexit put the border literally on the line, leading Leo Varadkar to duly respectabilise the notion of a united Ireland, but the Decade of the Centenaries has also given a renewed shot in the arm to overzealous peddlers of the past.
Hit Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls, Milkman by Anna Burns and journalist Sam McBride's book Burned about the 'cash-for-ash' scandal have all been shortlisted for a literary prize in memory of a British ambassador to Ireland who was murdered by the IRA.
In case it had escaped your notice, this Friday is Valentine's Day, an event in which the martyrdom of a Roman priest in the third century has strangely transmogrified into a festival of romantic love, cellophane-wrapped teddy bears, identikit red roses and social media showboating.
The question, as Marian Keyes went to work on her new book, was: had she used up all her tragedies? She wondered it herself and it was a reasonable query. Beneath the breeziness of her signature wit and perhaps obscured by her fondness for a happy ending, sadness has always been a key component of Marian's magic, an indigo shadow behind all the sparkly jokes.
Affectionately known as 'the people's poet', Pam Ayres is famous for comic verse delivered in her distinctive rural accent. Her acute observations, expressed in rhyme, highlight life's mundane irritations and common experiences, from snoring partners to ageing and weight gain. The humorous lament Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth is one of her best-known pieces.
Pinch Of Nom creators Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone - whose first book became the UK's fastest-selling non-fiction title since records began - are back with another helping of slimming recipes, this time called Pinch Of Nom: Everyday Light.
He began as a bet in 1916 when Agatha Christie (working for the Voluntary Aid Detachment in Torquay, providing nursing care for military personnel injured in the war) was challenged by a friend to write a detective story in which the reader would not be able to spot the criminal.
A writer who has compiled a new book about Dundonald Cemetery on the outskirts of Belfast thinks he may have come up with an answer to the riddle of why the name of a lifelong friend of author CS Lewis isn't included on the headstone of his family's grave.
It's easy to get stuck in a rut with your vegetable choices - peas with everything, carrot sticks at every opportunity, avocado brunches on repeat. But between New Year health kicks and talk of 'veganuary', as well as guideline recommendations swerving from five portions of fruit and veg-a-day to a whopping 10, you can be forgiven for finding the veg aisle a bit stressful. So, to reinvigorate your culinary possibilities in regards to the green stuff, and get 2020 off to a positive - but still very tasty - start, take a little inspiration from these plant-heavy cookbooks...
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