26 Quotes about Books, Reading and Writing
Great Satirists Part II
10 Great Satirists from History
If Authors Were Desserts IV
The 10 Books I’ve Read This Year
Necropolis is Now On Sale
13 Bizarre Books
Authors as Desserts III
15 Bizarre Male Author Facts
Bizarre Female Author Facts

26 Quotes about Books, Reading and Writing

I like quotes by famous authors so much that I Tweet one everyday, 365 days a year at @GuyPortman. Here are 26 memorable author quotes, many of which are humorous.

Never judge a book by its movie. J.W. Eagan

Few things in life seem more sexy than a banned book. Chuck Palahniuk

I have only ever read one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It’s so frightfully good I’ve never bothered to read another.Nancy Mitford

This Is Not a Novel To Be Tossed Aside Lightly. It Should Be Thrown with Great Force.Dorothy Parker

Pile of Books

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.Oscar Wilde

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.Groucho Marx

Be careful about reading health books. Some fine day you’ll die of a misprint.Markus Herz

A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.Jerry Seinfield

I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil.Voltaire

No one ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have tried while trying to write one.Robert Byrne

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read. Mark Twain

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.P. J. O’Rourke


The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same, but the medical practice changes.Mark Twain

I was reading a book… ‘the history of glue’ – I couldn’t put it down. Tim Vine

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.Henry Ward Beecher

Books had instant replay long before televised sports.Bern Williams

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.John LeCarre

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.Haruki Murakami

Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.Mary Schmich

I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.Steven Wright

‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.Mark Twain

So many books, so little time.Frank Zappa

Where would Jesus be if no one ever wrote the gospels?Chuck Palahniuk

There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.Flannery O’Connor

To hold a pen is to be at war. Voltaire

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.Groucho Marx


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Great Satirists Part II

Last week’s post was devoted to history’s great literary satirists. Today we focus on more recent and contemporary satirists. They are presented in chronological order.

George Orwell
 (June 25th 1903 – January 21st 1950)

George Orwell was vehemently opposed to totalitarianism. He used political satire to criticise Stalin’s rule in his allegorical novella, Animal Farm. Stalin’s representative in the book is the pig Napoleon. Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, is a satirical political commentary on totalitarianism.


Aldous HuxleyHuxley (July 26th 1894 – November 22nd 1963)

Huxley was one of the great intellectuals of his generation. His seminal work, Brave New World, is considered to be amongst the most influential novels of the 20th Century. It employs erudite social commentary to explore and satirise our obsession with consumption and technology.


Evelyn Waugh
(October 28th 1903 – April 10th 1966)

Waugh was a journalist and author, who was known for his humour and savage satirical wit. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest prose satirists of the 20th Century. Amongst his most famous works is the WWII trilogy Sword of Honour.


Dorothy ParkerDorothy Parker (August 22nd 1893 – June 7th 1967) 

Critic, short story writer and poet Dorothy Parker was renowned for her sense of humour and satirising abilities. She was prone to satirising the middle classes. Satire of the humorous, sarcastic variety is present in much of her poetry, including Résumé and One Perfect Rose.


P. G. WodehouseWodehouse (October 15th 1881 – February 14th 1975)

Author P. G. Wodehouse was a famous 20th Century humourist. He used parody and ridicule in his comic fiction to satirise elements within society, particularly the English upper classes. His characters though ridiculous are generally likeable.


Joseph HellerHeller(May 1st 1923 – December 12th 1999) 

Satirical novelist, short story writer and playwright Joseph Heller is best remembered for his novel Catch-22. The story is about a group of soldiers fighting in WWII. This absurdist work sees the author employing relentless ludicrousness to chastise warfare.


Kurt Vonnegut
(November 11th 1922 – April 11th 2007)

Vonnegut was a prolific postmodern author, whose seminal work was the satirical, anti war themed Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The book explores notions such as fate, free will, the meaning of life and the futility of war – serious messages that are coated with humour.


Terry Pratchett
(April 28th 1948 – March 12th 2015)

Terry Pratchett was the author of the Discworld series of 41 novels. The fantasy series features satire of the comedic variety. Numerous issues facing contemporary society are explored, including politics, bribery, human behaviour and corruption, particularly with regards to the ruling elite.


Tom WolfeWolfe (Born March 2nd 1931) 

Journalist Tom Wolfe initially wrote only non-fiction, but later turned his hand to fiction. His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) is a satirical work whose themes include politics, ambition and greed. His third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, is replete with satirical wit.


Chuck Palahniuk
 (Born: February 21st 1962)

Palahniuk is a transgressive author whose writing is brimming with dark humour, lurid descriptions and satirical observations. Amongst his favourite subjects to satirise are the media-saturated nature of society, our obsession with celebrities and the fate of the American working class.


My 3 novels include the satirical, black comedy, Necropolis.


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10 Great Satirists from History

This week sees a return to the list style format that made this blog famous quite popular. Here are 10 great literary satirists from history. They are presented in chronological order:


AristophanesAristophanes (444 B.C. – 385 B.C.)

Ancient Athenian playwright Aristophanes’ plays are still performed to this day. Respected and feared for his comic wit and scathing satire, he was merciless in his mockery of religious figures, politicians and poets. His victims included such influential figures as Euripides, Cleon and Socrates.


ChaucerChaucer (1343 – October 25th 1400)

Chaucer was the Middle Ages most famous poet. He was also an ardent humourist, who was highly critical of the order of the day, particularly the Catholic Church. His most famous work, The Canterbury Tales, is rife with comedic social satire.


ErasmusErasmus (October 28th 1466 – July 12th 1536)

Erasmus was a Dutch priest, theologian and social critic. He is best remembered for his satirical attack on the superstitions of the Church in his essay, In Praise of Folly. It is considered one of the most important works of the Renaissance.


Francois Rabelais Rabelais(February 4th 1494 – April 9th 1553)

Rabelais was a French Renaissance physician, monk and writer, who was famed for his satirical wit and crude sense of humour. His seminal work, The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel, is a comedic masterpiece that satirises many elements of the Renaissance.


Jonathan Swift
(November 30th 1667 – October 19th 1745)

Swift was a cleric and author. His most famous title, Gulliver’s Travels, is a satire on human nature. It was a bestseller on publication, and remains popular to this day. The author’s ironic writing style led to subsequent satires similar to his own being labelled ‘Swiftian’.


VoltaireVoltaire (November 21st 1694 – May 30th 1778)

Voltaire was unrelenting in his criticism of the order of his day. His beliefs and determination to voice them resulted in 2 stints in The Bastille. Voltaire’s seminal work, the satirical Candide, was widely viewed as blasphemous and revolutionary at the time of its publication.


Jane AustenJane Austen(December 16th 1775 – July 18th 1817)

English novelist Jane Austen’s novels remain popular to this day. She was a supreme social satirist, who employed irony to criticise and parody the social order. Subjects included social class and 19th century views of women, particularly regarding marriage.


Nikolai Gogol Gogol(March 31st 1809 – March 4th 1852)

Gogol was a short story writer, dramatist and author, who utilised comic realism and acerbic satire in his writing. His targets included what he viewed as the unseemly elements of Imperial Russia. Gogol’s descriptions of bureaucrats and Russian provincials influenced many later writers.


Mark TwainMark Twain (November 30th 1835 – April 21st 1910)

Mark Twain was an American author and humourist best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The books are a satire of American southern antebellum society that parody religion, morality, and above all the practice of slavery.


Ambrose BierceBierce (June 24th 1842 – Circa 1914)

Bierce was a journalist, editorialist, writer and unrelenting satirist, whose satirical works include the lexicon, The Devil’s Dictionary, and the short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The derisive satire that he employed in his writing earned him the moniker ‘Bitter Bierce’.


Next week’s blog post will be dedicated to more recent and contemporary satirists.


I am the author of the satirical, black comedy Necropolis.


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If Authors Were Desserts IV

This week we return to the subject of authors and the desserts that in my opinion their writing corresponds to. Here are 8 authors and their corresponding desserts.

Leo TolstoyTolstoy

Iconic Russian writer Tolstoy is best-remembered for his opuses Anna Karenina and War And Peace.

Corresponding dessert: Heavy Cake

Heavy Cake(Courtesy of Pudsy You Like)

Rationale: Heavy Cake is dense and requires a lot of chewing, but it tastes good.


Anne RiceRice

The Vampire Chronicles creator is one of the best-selling writers in recent American history.

Corresponding dessert: Jelly

Jelly(Courtesy of Reddit)

Rationale: Right-minded adults steer clear of this puerile dessert.


William S. BurroughsWilliamBurroughs

The Beat author’s later works utilise a non-linear style.

Corresponding dessert: Upside-Down Cake

Upside Down(Courtesy of Zahlicious)

Rationale: Upside-down it might be, but this cake has many tasty ingredients.


Jude DeverauxDeveraux

Some of this prolific American writer’s historical romances feature paranormal themes and time travel.

Corresponding dessert: Fudge Cake

Fudge(Courtesy of Gastronomy Domine)

Rationale: To make this dessert all you have to do is get a load of fudge and bung some chocolate on top.


Norman MailerMailer

Cultural criticism, controversy and obscenity were hallmarks of this volatile and violent  author.

Corresponding dessert: Fruitcake

Fruit Cake(Courtesy of

Rationale: Self-explanatory


Aleksandr SolzhenitsynSolzhenitsyn

Themes in Solzhenitsyn’s writing include gulags, political oppression and cancer.

Corresponding dessert: Black Bun

Black Bun(Courtesy of Baking For Britain)

Rationale: Many people would no doubt prefer a dessert with brighter colours, but not me.


Stephen KingStephen King

This master of horror and suspense is adored the World over.

Corresponding dessert: Devil’s Food Cake

Devil's(Courtesy of Always Foodie)

Rationale: The Devil’s voice is sweet to hear. And his cake tastes pretty good too.


Sidney SheldonSidney Sheldon

Chick lit/Thriller author Sheldon is the one of the best-selling authors of all time.

Corresponding dessert: Wafer

Wafer(Courtesy of Bar Bakers)

Rationale: With their primary ingredient being air, wafers won’t satisfy one’s hunger.

Click here to read Part III


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My 3 novels include the satirical black comedy, Necropolis.


The 10 Books I’ve Read This Year

I have read 10 books in 2016. I hope to read at least another 10 before the end of the year. The following books are presented in the order in which I read them. Click on the links to read my reviews.


Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina

Genre: Classic

Tolstoy’s opus is set against a backdrop of the emancipation of the serfs, the Pan Slavism movement, political change and technological advancement. The story follows three interrelated families…(more)

My Rating: Good


Personal by Lee ChildPersonal

Genre: Thriller

When a shot is fired at the French president in Paris, Jack Reacher is recruited to apprehend the rogue sniper before he causes havoc at a forthcoming G8 meeting in London. Reacher teams up with…(more)

My Rating: Intriguing


The Rebel’s Sketchbook by Rupert DreyfusThe Rebel's Sketchbook

Genre: Satire

The Rebel’s Sketchbook is a collection of 13 first person satirical short stories. Subjects encompass capitalism, class war, drugs, viral culture, boy bands and zero hour contracts. The compilation’s motif is rebellion…(more)

My Rating: Good


Concrete Island by J. G. BallardConcrete Island

Genre: Dystopia

35-year-old architect Robert Maitland is driving along the orbital road, Westway, in London, when he loses control of his Jaguar, ploughs through the barriers and plummets onto an underpass…(more)

My Rating: Okay


Brave New World by Aldous HuxleyBrave New World

Genre: Dystopia

Brave New World is set in a society where everything is controlled. The parentless, manufactured, free-loving population are dependent on a state-endorsed hallucinogenic, happiness drug called…(more)

My Rating: Thought-provoking


The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. DickMan in High Castle

Genre: Dystopia

After the allies lost World War II America was divided in half. The Germans occupied the east, the Japanese the west. It is now 1962. Robert Childan is the owner of an Americana antiques shop in San Francisco…(more)

My Rating: Interesting premise but convoluted


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

Genre: Dystopia

Books are banned in this dystopian world, where firemen are employed to burn them. Guy Montag is a fireman, who lives an unfulfilling existence with Mildred, his sedentary, parlour-consuming wife…(more)

My Rating: Good


To The Lighthouse by Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse

Genre: Semi Autobiographical

Mrs Ramsay is devoted to her eight children, and her imperious, intellectual husband Mr Ramsay. They are staying in their holiday home on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides. There is a tentative plan to visit…(more)

My Rating: Tedious & incredibly dense.


Make Me by Lee ChildMake Me

Genre: Thriller

Lee Child’s alter ego Jack Reacher finds himself in Mother’s Rest, a dead end, small prairie town on the train line. Our protagonist is curious as to why the town got its name. At the local motel Reacher meets…(more)

My Rating: Not bad


Fire In The Hole by Elmore LeonardFire In The Hole

Genre: Crime

This compilation, consisting of 9 short stories, is named after its longest title, Fire In The Hole, the inspiration for the television series Justified. It begins with a Kentucky-based Nazi called Boyd blowing up…(more)

My Rating: Entertaining

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Necropolis is Now On Sale

Necropolis is 99c/99p for today and only (24th). Usual price: $3.35/£2.29.

Necropolis is a satirical black comedy about a sociopath. It is my second novel.


The blurb:

A black comedy of true distinction

Dyson Devereux works in the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council. Dyson is intelligent, incisive and informed. He is also a sociopath. Dyson’s contempt for the bureaucracy and banality of his workplace provides ample refuge for his mordant wit. But the prevalence of Essex Cherubs adorning the headstones of Newton New Cemetery is starting to get on his nerves.

When an opportunity presents itself will Dyson seize his chance and find freedom, or is his destiny to be a life of toil in Burials and Cemeteries?

Click here to read Crime Fiction Lover’s 5/5 star review (warning: contains some spoilers). Crime Fiction Lover is Britain’s largest and most prestigious Crime Fiction review site.

Necropolis has 42 reviews/ratings on Goodreads. Click here to see them.


Here are 2 short snippets:

It is the usual Halloween meets council workers scene – ubiquitous witches and black cats, a smattering of demons with horned-headbands, some carrying cheap plastic pitch-forks. In the far corner two finance workers wrapped in black cloaks, hold Scream film series inspired, white ghost masks to their faces…

To look upon Irene is to stare into a looking glass, into a world of cheap retail outlets, suburban cul-de-sacs, Sky television itineraries, frozen Iceland trifles and Co-operative Funeralcare plans.

The sale is for today only, so hurry why stocks last. Actually on second thoughts ebook stocks can’t run out. But the price will be returning to normal on the 25th ($3.35/£2.29).

Here are the links: (99c) (99p)

Necropolis is also available in paperback.

13 Bizarre Books

I always knew there were some bizarre books out there, but I was not aware quite how bizarre until researching this post. Here are 13 books that I consider to be bizarre. I have added pithy comments/fictitious dialogue below each.


Gadsby: A Lipogram Novel


This 50,000+ word lipogram novel claims not to use the letter e.

How many e’s can you spot on the front cover?


Highlights in the History of Concrete


If you’re going to go to the trouble of writing a book about the history of concrete, you might as well tell the whole story.


Sexual Analysis of Dickens’ Props 

Dickens Props

I always knew that chair in Oliver Twist had sexual connotations, but no one would listen.


The Big Book Of Lesbian Horse Stories

Lesbian Horse

One Amazon reviewer claims that The Big Book Of Lesbian Horse Stories is merely a normal sized book of lesbian horse stories.


Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say “No” to Drugs


This is how I imagine Latawnya the Naughty Horse learns how to say ‘No’ to drugs.

Someone walks into Latawnya’s stable holding some drugs.

Person: ‘Hi Latawnya you naughty horse, would you like some drugs?’

Latawnya: ‘Neighhhh.’

‘Let’s try that again shall we. Would you like some drugs?’


‘Would you like some drugs?’


Latawyna has learnt to say no to drugs. Have you?


Castration: The Advantages and the Disadvantages 


You mean to say there are disadvantages.


How to Speak Cat: The Essential Primer of Cat Language

Speak Cat

Purr whilst rubbing against someone if you want something, arch your back and hiss if you are angry, meow for everything else.


Anybody Can Be Cool– But Awesome Takes Practice


Oh, awesome takes practice! That explains why I’ve been stuck on cool for so long.


How to Avoid Huge Ships 


Don’t go on cruises or swim in harbours.


Why Not Eat Insects? 


Why not indeed!


How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich

Green Nazis

The Nazis may have killed millions of people, but when it came to recycling…


Dating for Under a Dollar: 301 Ideas

Dollar Dating

Go to McDonald’s with your date and order a grilled onion cheddar burger from the dollar menu, then pull out 99c and plead until they let you off the 1c. Now cut the burger in 2 and give her/him half, but with all the onions.

Date: ‘All the onions? That’s so kind. Are you sure?’

You: ‘Yes I’m sure. Now eat them before I change my mind.’


Does GOD Ever Speak through CATS?

God Cats

Cat: ‘Meow! Meow! Purr, purr, meow, hiss! MEOW! MEOW!’

Person: ‘Are you sure God? We already have 10 Commandments, do we really need an 11th?’



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I am the author of the satirical black comedy, Necropolis.


And the psychological thriller, Symbiosis.







Authors as Desserts III

This week we return to the topic of authors and the desserts that in my opinion their writing corresponds to. Here are 8 authors and their corresponding desserts.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Reading the iconic Russian author’s books is rewarding, but challenging.

Corresponding dessert: Gooey Butter Cake

Butter Cake

(Courtesy of Its Good To Be The Cook)

Rationale: Gooey butter cake may be delicious, but it is incredibly dense and requires a lot of chewing.


L. Ron Hubbard


The Scientology founder wrote numerous Sci-Fi and psychotherapy books.

Corresponding dessert: Waffle


(Courtesy of Heritage Radio Network)

Rationale: The content of Scientology’s doctrine.


Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Woolf favoured observations and interior monologue over plot. Themes in her writing include suicide.

Corresponding dessert: Depression Cake

Depression Cake

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Rationale: Depression cake might look like a normal cake, but with little or no butter, eggs or milk it isn’t particularly appetising.


Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh

Themes in this legendary Scottish transgressive author’s writing include drugs and poverty.

Corresponding dessert: Deep-Fried Mars Bar

Deep Mars

(Courtesy of The Daily Mail)

Rationale: These treats might not be soft on the eye, and they are probably bad for you, but they taste good.


Guy Portman

Guy Portman

You may not have heard of Guy Portman, but you can take his word for it that he’s a talented author.

Corresponding dessert: Dark Chocolate Truffles with Clementine Zest


(Courtesy of My Tartelette)

Rationale: The zest is this exquisite delight’s pièce de résistance. It is surprising that this dessert is not more popular.


Yukio Mishima


Mishima was a staunch nationalist, and Japan’s most famous ever author.

Corresponding dessert: Daifuku (大福)


(Courtesy of Jap Pop)

Rationale: Daifuku is a traditional Japanese dessert that some Westerners enjoy.


Bret Easton Ellis


Easton Ellis is a master of social commentary. Much of his writing features vapid, soulless characters.

Corresponding dessert: Lemon Sorbet


(Courtesy of Dishmaps)

Rationale: This cold, astringent dessert isn’t for everyone. I rather like it.


Nora Roberts


Nora Roberts is one of the best-selling Romance authors of all time.

Corresponding dessert: Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding

(Courtesy of Home Farmer)

Rationale: The mere sight of this pink extravagance makes me feel quite queasy.

Click here to read Part II


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My 3 novels include the satirical, black comedy, Necropolis.



15 Bizarre Male Author Facts

Last week it was female authors. This week it’s the men’s turn. Here are 15 bizarre male author facts.

Pile of Books

Did you know that:

There is an asteroid named after Kurt Vonnegut.

Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Misérables in the nude. Hugo would order his valet to hide his clothes until after he had finished writing.

Only 10 people attended D. H. Lawrence’s funeral. 1 of them was Aldous Huxley.

Billy Wilder’s epitaph is – I’m a writer but then nobody’s perfect.

William Burroughs accidentally killed his partner Joan Vollmer by shooting her in the head.


On his marriage document in 1582, William Shakespeare’s name was spelled William Shagspeare.

American music critic and author Gustav Kobbé’s was out sailing when a seaplane misjudged its descent and struck his boat, killing him.

American playwright Tennessee Williams died from swallowing a bottle of eye drops.

In 1912 Ambrose Bierce invented 1 of the earliest emoticons, the snigger point, written as \ ___ /! It was designed to look like a smiling mouth.

Vladimir Nabokov had a ‘genitalia’ cabinet, in which he stored his collection of male butterfly genitalia.


Dr Seuss included the word ‘contraceptive’ in a draft of his children’s book Hop on Pop to make sure the publisher was concentrating.

On his deathbed when asked by the priest to renounce Satan, Voltaire allegedly said, ‘Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.’

John Boyne claims to have written The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas in only 2 and a half days.

Henry David Thoreau’s last words were allegedly, ‘Moose. Indian.’ Perhaps not the most rational last words ever uttered, but apt, considering the subject matter of Thoreau’s writing.

Vladimir Nabokov had a fixation with index cards. The majority of his novels were written out on cards with a pencil. Nabokov also wrote standing up.


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I am the author of the satirical black comedy, Necropolis.



Bizarre Female Author Facts

This week’s blog post is devoted to Bizarre Female Author Facts. I haven’t forgotten about the men. It will be their turn next week.


Did you know that:

Modernist writer Katherine Mansfield wore a mourning dress to her own wedding.

Jane Austen never married, but she was engaged for 1 night. She accepted the proposal of marriage 2 weeks prior to her 27th birthday. Austen changed her mind the next day.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) lived next door to Mark Twain.

Agatha Christie came to have a strong disliking for her creation Hercule Poirot.

Dorothy Parker’s epitaph reads — Excuse my dust.

Agatha Christie

Jane Austen was the first person known to have used the word ‘outsider’.

Zadie Smith spent the best part of 2 years writing and rewriting the first 20 pages of her novel, On Beauty.

Romance author Ida Pollock is widely considered to be the World’s oldest ever author. She died aged 105, just weeks before her 125th book was published.

It took Helen Hooven Santmyer 50 years to pen And Ladies of the Club.

Virginia Woolf was the granddaughter of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray.

By her late 30s Emily Dickinson was so reclusive that she rarely left her house and spoke to visitors from the other side of her closed front door.

Emily Dickinson

Maya Angelou’s writing routine entailed travelling to a bare hotel room every morning, where she would write until about 2 p.m.

Agatha Christie’s favourite food was Devonshire Cream.

Helen Hoover Santymeyer was 88 when her seminal work And Ladies of the Club was published.

Dorothy Straight is on record as being the youngest published author ever. At the age of 4 she wrote a story for her grandmother, which went on to be published when she was 6.

Author and essayist Flannery O’Connor not only wrote at the same time every day, but also in the same place. That special place was facing her blank wood dresser, which provided no distractions.


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I am the author of the psychological thriller, Symbiosis.


Copyright © 2015. Guyportman's Blog

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