Updated the first week of the month.














April & May 2024

Michelle Lovric's next History Girls post is not March 12th as previously mentioned but May 31st.

April & May Books

Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys
S.J. Bennett, A Death in Diamonds
G.R.R. Treasure, Seventeenth Century France
Kate Atkinson, Shrines of Gaiety
Eleanor Catton, Birnam Wood














February & March 2024

Michelle Lovric's next History Girls blog post will be on March 12th.

February & March Books

Paul Murray, Bee Sting
Joy Williams, Harrow
Paul Lynch, Prophet Song
Chetna Maroo, Western Lane
Stacey Hall, Mrs England
Rose Tremain, Absolutely and Forever
Ned Beauman, Glow
Ned Beauman, Madness is Better than Defeat
Coleson Whitehead, Crook Manifesto
Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness














December 2023 & January 2024

Grand Navi poster

On December 1st, Michelle Lovric published a post on the History Girls about the renewed threat to the Venetian lagoon from the monster cruise liners.

December 2023 & January 2024 Books

Katharine Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies
Kevin Barry, Beatlebone
Zadie Smith, The Fraud
Mike McCormack, Forensic Songs
James Hannaham, Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta
Chetna Maroo, Western Lane
John Boyne, Water
Viktoria Lloyd‐Barlow, All the Little Bird‐Hearts














October & November 2023


This new group focussed on the Thames has attracted a large number of subscribers. You don't need to live on the river to be a part of it ‐ just to care about the river and the built environment that surrounds it.

The River Residents Group

The RRG has been active in the case of the Oceandiva, Europe's biggest party boat, which wants to operate on the Thames.

But we are also interested in wildlife, riparian architecture, pseudo‐public space, noise that creates risks for physical and mental health and other ways in which communities are being put at risk by overdevelopment and inconsiderate commodification of London's greatest public realm, the Thames.

Here is drawing from a London child worried about the effect of the Oceandiva and its partygoers on the Thames seals and swans. Thank you to Polly, aged 10.

Polly' drawing of the Oceandiva

To receive our newsletters, please see the link on the home page.

October & November Books

Harrods 1895 Catalogue
Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven
Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Jericho Brown, La Tradizione
Judith Flankers, The Victorian House
George Worley, Bell's Cathedrals: Southwark Cathedral
Richard Thompson, Chronicles of London Bridge
John Beasley, Southwark Revisited
Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House
Louise Erdrich, Jacklight
Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
Jeannie Duckworth, Fagin's Children
Southwark in Old Photographs
Antony Hurst, Diocese of Southwark 1905 - 2005














August & September 2023

A Puffin in Venice

A Puffin in Venice ‐ continues his Instagram adventures
Follow the Venetian journeys of a puffin from Lofoten ‐
a collaboration between photographer David Winston
and Michelle Lovric, based on a new novel.
Puffin In Venice (@apuffininvenice) • Instagram photos and videos

River Residents Organisation

Recent press about the RRG and the Oceandiva:

Battle to ban Europe's BIGGEST party boat from London: Locals fight to stop football pitch-sized yacht for 1,500 revellers mooring near their homes ∣ Daily Mail Online

No Oceandiva signs

(Picture: Mail Online)

Thames largest ever party boat Oceandiva ‘strikes anchor’ during test ∣ Evening Standard

The RRG welcomes new members. You don’t need to live on the river to be part of our group: the RRG includes people who work and walk along the Thames, use its public transport ‐ or simply care about it. If you would like to receive updates, you can sign up to receive our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

August & September Books

The Three Graces by Amanda Craig

Hernan Diaz, Trust
Kevin Barry, Dark Lies the Island
Theodore Roethke, Collected Poems
Amanda Craig, The Three Graces
Jane Smiley, Perestroika in Paris














June & July 2023

A Puffin in Venice

A Puffin in Venice ‐ a new Instagram venture
Follow the Venetian journeys of a puffin from Lofoten ‐
a collaboration between photographer David Winston
and Michelle Lovric, based on a new novel.
Puffin In Venice (@apuffininvenice) • Instagram photos and videos

(Above, the Puffin at Florian, Venice's most beautiful café).

River Residents Group

River Residents Group

The RRG has been launched to highlight the increasing threat to culture, history and diversity from over-development both on and off the Thames. The umbrella group of individuals, communities, residents and cultural organisations plans to raise awareness of the loopholes that leave the Thames under threat from attempts to commodify and privatize its views, with developers chasing permissions for sky-grabs and leisure operators, such as the Oceandiva, exploiting the river at the expense of ordinary Londoners. The RRG aims to campaign to preserve the river's cultural heritage and ecological assets ‐ and its liveability ‐ for future generations, working alongside the respected River Thames Society and other organisations.

The struggle with the Oceandiva has been an initial focal point. However, in working together on that issue, the organisers discovered many other things in common. The RRG aims to be a positive force for good, giving practical assistance when things need to be done. We'll also let you know about news and events on the river.

The RRG welcomes new members. You don't need to live on the river to be part of our group: the RRG includes people who work and walk along the Thames, use its public transport ‐ or simply care about it.

If you would like to receive updates, you can sign up to receive our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

June & July Books

The Time Travel Diaries by Caroline Lawrence

Caroline Lawrence, The Time Travel Diaries
Port of London Authority, Mariners' Guide to Bridges on the Tidal Thames
Yiyun Li, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Grand Hotel Europa
Claire Keegan, Foster
Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
Mellany Ambrose, Mr Hammond and the Poetic Apprentice
Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees
Percival Everett, Dr No
Russell Banks, The Magic Kingdom
Ned Beauman, Venomous Lumpsucker














April & May 2023

Michelle Lovric's next History Girls blog post is scheduled for March 31st.

Tracery: An exhibition by Déidre Kelly

Coming soon: Tracery, an exhibition by Déirdre Kelly, intertwining Venice and the Lake District in works based on maps and lace.
Tracery - Venice and the Lakes Interlaced by Déirdre Kelly - Brantwood


Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos A constellation of conduits was channelled between us, and our distance became water

Saturday 25 March - Saturday 29 April 2023
Private View: Friday 24 March 2023  4 ‐ 8 pm
Due to the nature of the exhibition it is essential to book a viewing slot: either 4pm, 5pm, 6pm or 7pm Please contact

An aquatic installation is spreading through the gallery space. It makes you move sidelong, curve along its corridors of affect, turn sharp at the next dystopian swelling. It asks you to swim gently across the expanse of water that has taken over the planet. It invites you to eavesdrop on the goings of a flooded city, and the genderless lovers in the centre of it all.

Based on the recent novel Our Distance Became Water by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (published especially for the exhibition by ERIS press), the installation becomes a body of water, air, sound, text, painting and tubular transparency. The textuality in the core of the work becomes gurglings, air bubbles, primordial sounds and spiced breath, an underwater forest of tubes, floating sheets of carton where our bodies might find solace in this drowning world.

In drawing their interdisciplinary practices together, the artist Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos reached a moment of confluence. The core of the show consists of sound pieces performed by Cervera on his tubular structures, composed around the recitations by Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos of extracts of the novel.

During the opening private view, the artists will be working together to produce short performances that explore the text as well as the soundscape and its tubular mode of production through the movement of their bodies and other bodies of water.

The finissage will feature readings by Andreas Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos and two musical performances that will see the sprawling tube installation on the ground‐floor activated by Robert Cervera together with collaborators Kennedy Jopson and Alex Bonney.

April & May Books

The Hopeful Hat by Carole Satyamurti

Carole Satyamurti, The Hopeful Hat
U.A. Fanthorpe, Selected Poems
Pablo Neruda, Fully Empowered
Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt
Theodore Roethke, Collected Poems
Paul Durcan, A Snail in my Prime
Dickens's Dictionary of London 1888
Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames
Patricia Lockwood, Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals
Angus Wilson, A Bit off the Map and other stories
Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music
Ben Lerner, The Lichtenberg Figures
Joan Windham, Sixty Saints for Girls
Melissa Lozada‐Oliva, Peluda














February & March 2023

Michelle Lovric's next History Girls blog post will be on March 12th.

February & March Books

Jane Kenyon, Constance
Danilo Kis, The Encyclopaedia of the Dead
Ed Christopher Reid, editor, Not to Speak of the Dog
Vladimir Nabokov, Collected Poems
Myra Schneider et al, editors, Making Worlds, One Hundred Contemporary Female Poets
Doireann Ni Ghriofa, Clasp
Hilary Davies, Imperium
Duncan Forbes, Poem that Point the Finger
Rose Tremain, The American Lover
Sharon Blackie, Hagitude
Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
Gareth Cadwallader, States of Man
Vladimir Nabokov, Collected Poems
Kevin Barry, editor, Town & Country, New Irish Short Stories
Wendy Erskine, Dance Move














December 2022 & January 2023

Reading Round, Bankside
Three new places have become available from January 2023.
See here for how to apply.

Some Autumn and Winter walks for enquiring minds ...
Elan Walks ‐ Walk with me

December & January Books

Charles Simic, Selected Poems
George R.R. Martin, Nightflyers and Other Stories
Neil Gaiman, Trolls Bridge
Percival Everett, The Trees
Claire Keegan, Small Things like These
Yannis Ritsos, Selected Poems
The Time Out Book of New York Short Stories, edited by Nicholas Royle
Deborah Moggach, Smile
Carmi, At the Stone of Losses
Matthew Dickman, Michael Dickman, Brother
Eavan Boland, Collected Poems
Pinckney Benedict, The Wrecking Yard
Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Sky Ray Lolly
Franz Kafka, Investigations of a Dog
The Best Short Stories, 2021, edited by Ngozi Adichie
Jane Gardam, The Stories
William Trevor, The News from Ireland
Bernard MacLaverty, A Time to Dance
Hilary Mantel, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
Jane Hirshfield, Each Happiness Ringed by Lions
Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
Mary Oliver, Swan
Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems
James Tipton, Letters from a Stranger
Pascale Petit, Tiger Girl
Olivia Gatwood, New American Best Friend
Riccardo Falcinelli, Chromorama
Andrea Gibson, You Better Be Lightning
Anna Adams, Thames
Paul Popenoe, Applied Eugenics, 1918
Michael F. Guyer and M. V. O’Shea, Being Well‐Born: An Introduction to Eugenics, 1916
G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils, 1922
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems Volume 2














October & November 2022

New Writing

Michelle Lovric's work‐in‐progress poem about the cruise ships in Venice is published in the Guild of St George Companions Review, page 36

Companions Review 2022 by Guild of St George ‐ Issuu

Books for October & November

Mary Oliver, Swan
Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Midwife to the Fairies: Selected Stories by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
Philip K. Dick, We Can Remember it for You Wholesale














August & September 2022

Royal Literary Fund

Places are now open for a new year of Michelle Lovric's Royal Literary Fund Reading Round group at Bankside, London. Sessions start in October.

‘The Reading Round has been the highlight of my year. If you enjoy stories, being read to is a real delight, and someone else choosing means you are introduced to new writers, new adventures. Poetry has always been a challenge for me but now I see they are just stories in a different form, and discussing them as a group has made me more open to reading poetry. The discussions are lively but collaborative and every session has been a joy.’

‘As someone who hardly ever reads for pleasure, I am decidedly illiterate when it comes to authors and poets, particularly the more the contemporary ones. So I joined the Reading round Bankside initiative with trepidation. ‘Will I fit in? Will I embarrass myself by my ignorance?’ etc, etc. What I found was a group of lovely people, yes, certainly all more literate than I, but inclusive and full of interesting ideas, guided by an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and warm facilitator who led us through a wide range of short stories and poems with lightness of touch and sensitivity. I would commend Reading round Bankside to anyone who wishes they were better read, but has given up on book groups because somehow they can't even manage reading one book a month! You won't be disappointed.’

‘Ambivalent to start with... as I wasn't quite sure what to expect ‐ I was so surprised at how much I have enjoyed being part of the Reading Round group, it really has been one of the best things I have done this year. Michelle convened such brilliant, open and inclusive sessions ‐ introducing us to different texts and poems each week, opening my eyes to many older and contemporary writers which I would have not read or looked at closely otherwise.’

‘Wonderful to discover new stories and poems, with expert guidance from Michelle and sharing a rich variety of perspectives in conversation with the group. As open and relaxed as a good book group, but the close reading brings a really stimulating added dimension.’

‘It has been an absolute delight attending these sessions with Michelle. Each week is a new discovery of a different writer or a fresh look at one you know. Hearing the diversity of opinions in the group is fascinating. I highly recommend you treat yourself to this weekly evening escape exploring the wealth of international literature that Michelle lays before you.’

‘Sadly my year at Reading Round is drawing to a close ‐ it would be lovely to carry on but I understand the need to make room for others. The choice of readings provided has been wonderful. To me, some new authors, and ones that I have continued to seek out. It is so easy to get into a reading rut. Reading Round has enabled me to explore other areas, sometimes out of my comfort zone. Well done, keep up the good work.’

You can apply to join October's intake here: Michelle Lovric ‐ Reading Round

New Writing

Michelle Lovric wrote a post for Writers Rebel about the new threat facing the River Thames.

And there's more about that threat in this History Girls blog.

Michelle Lovric's poem ‘aut maritus’ was shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship Poetry Prize in June 2022.

Books for August & September

Ellen Bass, Mules of Love
Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
Kevin Barry, City of Bohane
Alice Walker, To Hell With Dying
Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic
Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky (eds), Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine
Wendy Erskine, Dance Move
Andrea Gibson, You'd Better Be Lightning
Sabrina Benaim, Depression & Other Magic Tricks
Bianca Phipps, Crown Noble
Emily St John Mandel, Sea of Tranquillity
Kevin Barry, There Are Little Kingdoms
Tishani Doshi, Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods
Kayo Chingonyi, A Blood Condition














June & July 2022

From Autumn 2022, Michelle Lovric will lead a new Royal Literary Fund Reading Round group in Bankside, London. Applications are open now. More information and how to apply here.

Michelle Lovric's next blog on the History Girls will be June 3rd.

The Thames is once more under threat from Europe's biggest party boat. This new website tells the story so far, with links to the petitions and other information.

Books for June & July

Balkan Fabrications by Jeremy Howard

Meg Mason, Sorrow and Bliss
Ocean Vuong, Time is a Mother
Jeremy Howard, Balkan Fabrications
Lucie McKnight Hardy, Dead Relatives
Mariana Enriquez, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
Joan Didion, The White Album
Isabel Allende, Violeta
Christine Smallwood, The Life of the Mind
Lisa Allen‐Agostini, The Bread the Devil Knead
Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness














April & May 2022

Listening to stories & poems,
and talking about them
a new invitation from the Royal Literary Fund

The RLF has invited Michelle Lovric to set up a second Reading Round on Bankside for 2022/23, starting in October. There will be thirty weekly sessions with various breaks for holidays.

Reading Round is a kind of book club with no homework. Each week, you’ll be presented with new stories and poems for a guided discussion.

Please see link for more information and how to apply for one of the 12 new places.

Our Distance Became Water exhibition

The English Association has reviewed The Water’s Daughter very nicely here.

April & May Books

Barry Hannah, High Lonesome
Jo Lloyd, The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies
Jan Morris, Allegorizings
Helen Ivory, The Anatomical Venus
William Bedford, Dancers of Colbeck
Hilary Davies, The Shanghai Owner of the Bonsai Shop
Mario Petrucci, Flowers of Sulphur
Mario Petrucci, I Tulips
Vesna Goldsworthy, Gorsky and The Angel of Salonika
Serhiy Zhadan, A New Orthography
Serhiy Zhadan, What We Live For, What We Die For
Fatimah Asghar, If They Come for Us
Irenosen Okojie, Nudibranch
Leon Craig, Parallel Hells
Lissa Evans, Crooked Heart
Jonathan Keates, The Siege of Venice
Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Blood& Sugar
Lucy Hannah and Lyse Doucet, My Pen is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women
Kim Moore, All the Men I Never Married
Hannah Lowe, The Kids














February & March 2022

An online talk about Ruskin, Carpaccio and the Slav community of Venice.

MICHELLE LOVRIC, novelist, writer, campaigner, Companion of the Guild

‘ Supreme, serene, unassuming, unfaltering sweetness’: what Ruskin has to say about Carpaccio’s paintings of St George in the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. This very Venetian institution, also known as the Scuola Dalmata, is still active, with several hundred Venetian confratelli and consorelle, many of whom proudly give their time to work there.

Eminent actor Joseph Mydell will read excerpts from Ruskin’s observations on the art of the scuola, interspersed with brief context from Fors Clavigera.

You can register here for this free zoom event
VOICES FROM VENICE ‐ 3rd of 4 readings from Ruskin's writings about Venice. Tickets, Fri, Feb 11, 2022 at 5:30 PM | Eventbrite


One new place will become available from January 2022.
See here for how to apply.

February & March Books

Rose Tremain, Islands of Mercy
The Complete Stories of W. Somerset Maugham
Jay McInerney, The Last Bachelor
K.J. Orr, Light Box
Paul Theroux, Sinning with Annie and Other Stories
Salman Rushdie, East, West
Li Yiyun, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Margaret Atwood, Dancing Girls and Other Stories
Susan Perabo, Explaining Death to the Dog
Antonija Meznaric, Mistress of Geese
S.J. Bennett, A Three Dog Problem














December 2021 & January 2022

Michelle Lovric has been shortlisted in the Bridport Prize for poetry 2021.

Her novel Carnevale is included in Gregory Dowling's analysis of the portrayals of Casanova in fiction, ‘BRAW BOBBY-DAZZLER’, recently published in Casanoviana 4.

She will be presenting a lecture about Ruskin and Carpaccio on February 11th 2022 Voices from Venice ‐ third of four readings from John Ruskin's writing on Venice ‐ The Guild of St George

Reading Round, Bankside
One new place will become available from January 2022.
See here for how to apply.

December & January Books

‘Not Sorry’ by Sarah Salway

Sarah Salway, Not Sorry
Pam Houston, Cowboys Are My Weakness
Delmore Schwartz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories
James Tipton, Letters from a Stranger
McKay, The Animals in that Country
Maggie Shipstead, The Great Circle
Damon Galgut, The Promise
Tama Janowitz, The Slaves of New York
David Eagleman, Forty Tales from the Afterlives
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the Only Fruit
Melissa Lozada‐Oliva, Peluda
Megan Falley, Drive Here and Devastate Me
Megan Falley, After the Witch Hunt
Olivia Gatwood, New American Best Friend
Muriel Spark, Collected Stories
Bob Blaisdell, ed, Great Short Stories by Contemporary Native American Writers
Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party
Flann O'Brien, Short Fiction of Flann O'Brien
Rivka Galchen, Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch
William Golding, The Hot Gates and other occasional pieces
Elif Shafak, The Island of Missing Trees
Richard Powers, Bewilderment
Nadifa Mohamed, The Fortune Men














October & November 2021

The Book of Human Skin

A new review for The Book of Human Skin: ‘one of the most entertaining novels I've read in a long while - and I read, on average, about 45 - 50 novels a year.’

The Floating Book

And The Floating Book also receives a new review from Sarah Johnson at Reading the Past: ‘The Floating Book resembles dark chocolate: alluring, richly decadent, and somewhat bittersweet.’ See the full review here.

A message from the Guild of St George:

MONDAY 18th OCTOBER, 5.30pm (UK time) on zoom, via Eventbrite
POLLUTION ‐ Three personal Ruskinian perspectives, with Chris Baines, David Barrie and Michelle Lovric


In these two session, three Companions will each have 10 minutes to offer their own perspective on the challenges and opportunities that technology and pollution respectively present us with. From the challenges and opportunities of the internet and social media, to the light and noise pollution on the River Thames, via Venice, our speakers will each bring their own rich experience to the topic. Their talks will be followed by discussion between them and then audience questions. All are welcome. The zoom room will be opened at 5.15pm, ready for a punctual start at 5.30pm.

October & November Books

Kashuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun
John Ruskin, St Mark's Rest
Mary Lawson, A Town Called Solace
Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby
Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow
C.J. Carey, Widowland
Roberto Ferrucci, Venezia é Laguna
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds
Sarah Westcott, Slant Light
Victoria Mas, The Madwomen's Ball
Sharks in the Time of the Saviours
Maxine Kumin, Nurture














August & September 2021

Royal Literary Fund

Places are now open for Michelle Lovric's Royal Literary Fund Reading Round group at Bankside, London.

Michelle Lovric was interviewed in depth by Sophia Bennett for Prepublished.

New Writing

wooden hands

Michelle Lovric posted a lament about quack hand treatments on The History Girls on June 4th.

August & September Books

Cherie Jones, How the One‐Armed Sister Sweeps the House
Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
Tracy Chevalier, Burning Bright
Isabel Allende, A Long Petal of the Sea
Josa Keyes, My Love Life and Other Disasters
Diane Cook, The New Wilderness














June & July 2021

More details on the Royal Literary Fund's Reading Round group that Michelle Lovric will lead in Bankside, London, from October 2021.

Two of Michelle Lovric's poems have been longlisted in the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition 2020.

Her poem Ciarlatano has been commended by the judges in the 2021 FPM‐Hippocrates Open Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

June & July Books

T.P. Stevens, Southwark Cathedral
George Worley, Southwark Cathedral
Horace Monroe, The Story of Southwark Cathedral
David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Sloane Crosely, I was Told there'd be Cake
Scaachi Koul, One Day's We'll All Be Dead
Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader
Dave Barry, Dave Barry Does Japan
Erma Bombeck, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries
Samantha Irby, We are Never Meeting in Real Life
Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Bad Habits
The Best American Short Stories
David Arscott, Chailey Heritage: A Hundred Years
Keith Midd, The Life and Times of Edward VII
Louise Doughty, Platform Seven
Lady Layard, A Technical History of the Manufacture of Venetian Laces
Peter Blake, Venice Fantasies
Charles G. Harper, Queer Things About London
Italo Zannier, Venice, The Naya Collection
Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber
Naoise Dolan, Exciting Times
Jack London, The Best short Stories of Jack London
Guy de Maupassant, Short Stories
David Foekinos, The Mystery of Henri Pick
Editor, Fanny Blake, A Fresh Start
Bette Howland, Blue in Chicago
Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York
Jean-Phillippe Blondell, The 6.41 to Paris
Juliana Horatia Ewing, THE STORY OF A SHORT LIFE
William Trevor, Cheating at Canasta
William Boyd, The Dream Lover
Alice Munro, Friend of My Youth














April & May 2021

The Book of Human Skin

Michelle Lovric’s The Book of Human Skin has been named as among the six best novels of the 21st Century (so far) on reviewsrevues – Book reviews, author interviews, music reviews. A revue of reviews! The full list is:

Atonement – Ian McEwan (2001); The Book Of Human Skin – Michele Lovric (2010); The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2007); The Crimson Petal And The White – Michel Faber (2002); The Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai (2018); The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne (2017).

Michelle Lovric’s History Girls blog originally scheduled for March 12 will now appear on July 23 instead.

Michelle Lovric has been awarded a Lectorship by the Royal Literary Fund, to set up a Reading Round scheme in Bankside, London.

David Winston, whose photographs illustrate some of these web-pages, has given an interview to The Curator’s Salon. David Winston – The Curator's Salon

April & May Books

Eley Williams, The Liar’s Dictionary
Diane Atkinson, The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton
Pascale Petit, Tiger Girl
Pascale Petit, Mama Amazonica
Raymond Antrobus, The Perseverance
Bohumil Hrabal, All My Cats
Ed Frank McGuiness, The Dazzling Dark: New Irish Plays
Secret Remedies, What they cost and what they contain, 1909
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Heart of a Dog
Monique Roffey, The Mermaid of Black Conch
William Rollinson, editor, A Tour of the Lakes Made in 1797 by William Gell
Elizabeth Bishop, Poems, 2011
Elizabeth Bishop, Prose, 2011
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
John Betjeman, First and Last Loves
Ingrid Persaud, Love after Love
Jenni Fagan, Luckenbooth
Simon Silva, Small Town Browny
Emily St John Mandel, The Glass Hotel
Gogol, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled
Raven Leilani, Luster














February & March 2021

Michelle Lovric's next History Girls blog post will be on March 12th.

Recommended for when travel to Venice can be resumed: a lovely new book by Anna Bellani.

Venetian Safari by Anna Bellani

Available from the San Marco Press

February & March Books

Donal Ryan, Strange Flowers
Donal Ryan, From a Low and Quiet Sea
Alison Lurie, Truth and Consequences
Lucy Foley, The Guest List
S.J. Bennett, The Windsor Knot
Anita Brookner, A Closed Eye
Jacob Polley, Jackself
Kate Bingham, Quicksand Beach
Kate Bingham, Cohabitation Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
Doireann Ní Ghríofa, A Ghost in the Throat
Rebecca Lipkin, Unto This Last
Nadia Terranova, Farewell, Ghosts
Laurie Graham, Dr Dan Moves On
Gillian Polack, History and Fiction: Writers, their Research, Worlds and Stories
Ethlyn T. Clough, Norwegian Life
Mark Twain, How to Tell a Story and Other Essays
Mark Twain, On the Decay of the Art of Lying
José da Fonseca, Pedro Carolino, English as she is Spoke, 1884
Andrew P. Peabody, Conversation: its Faults and its Graces, 1855














December 2020 & January 2021

Michelle Lovric wrote a poem to commemorate the life of Southwark Cathedral's cat Doorkins, who died on September 30th. A service in memory of Doorkins was held at the Cathedral on October 28th.

The poem can be seen on the Cathedral's website.

December & January Books

Dangerous Women by Hope Adams

Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age
Miranda Miller, Angelica, Paintress of Minds
Luan Goldie, Nightingale Point
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, The Discomfort of Evening
Oyinkan Braithwaite, My Sister the Serial Killer
Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart
Donal Ryan, Strange Flowers
Amor Towles, The Rules of Civility
Hope Adams, Dangerous Women














October & November 2020

A new anthology has been published about the November 2019 flood and the Covid 19 pandemic in Venice: Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth. Royalties will go to Venetian organisations dedicated to preserving a liveable city and trying to keep the polluting, dangerous cruise ships out: We are Here Venice; NoGrandiNavi and Venice Calls.

Venice Rising

Venice Rising website:

For the ebook at Smashwords:

The Water's Daughter

A bookseller review for The Water's Daughter: from Sue Chambers at the Waterstones Finchley Road 02 Centre in London:

Another fantastic tale from Michelle Lovric with mermaids (yes, the mermaids are back! Which is wonderful – they are perhaps my favourite characters), a heroine with a remarkable sense of touch (to say the least), a land–lover of a hero (in Venice), a rather wild and fascinating Djinni and a wonderful feline mention just a few of the extraordinary characters in this story of revenge, history and power.
I loved it. My Dad, now aged 90 – has got a copy and is now settling down to read it, having fallen for Michelle's writing back in 2009... An atmospheric book rich in both plot and language – dark as Michelle's books so often are, so not for the squeamish. Definitely for those who enjoy that wonderful thing – a very good book – weirdly this is beginning to sound as though I'm advertising Mr Kipling's cakes...apologies... as much as the story, I enjoy the language. The characters that are so full and so intricate and so in character (if that makes any sense at all) – and of course Venice, herself.
If I never sold you a copy of The Undrowned Child – a lamentable situation, if ever there was one – then buy a copy of this. Sadly The Undrowned Child is now no longer in print – but you may be able to find a copy out there, but in the mean while – enjoy this latest celebration of Venice and revenge...

And on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, a lovely review by Sue Purkiss

The Undrowned Child

The Undrowned Child is recommended in this round-up of children's books set in Venice.

October & November Books

Tiziano Scarpa, Le Nuvole e I Soldi
Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age
Kate Atkinson, Big Sky
Liz Jensen, My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time
A.Alvarez, editor, The New Poetry
Alvise Zorzi, Venezia Austriaca
Sophie Ward, Love and other Thought Experiments
Meg Rosoff, The Great Godden
Jacek Dehnel, editor, Six Polish Poets
Geraldine McCaughrean, The Middle of Nowhere
Allan Massie, Byron's Travels
Dianne Hofmeyr, Paris Cat
Sebastian Barry, The Steward of Christendom
Domenico Starnone, Ties
John Downer, Lifesense
Elaine Gaussen, Sewing Accessories: A Collector's Guide
The Age of Elegance














August & September 2020

The Water's Daughter

The Water's Daughter has just been published.
You can read more about the book on these
new web pages designed by Helena Wee.
Some nice reviews have come in:

‘There are more watery adventure from Michelle Lovric, who lyrically explores the magic of Venice. The Water's Daughter (Orion, £6.99, 11+) is a thrilling Gothic fantasy about a girl who can see what once happened in a place by pressing her fingertips against its walls. When young boys start disappearing in Venice, Aurelia must use her ability to find them. This book is atmospheric and lush, for romantic adolescents stuck on staycations.’
Amanda Craig, The New Statesman

‘This dark and twisting tale is full of adventure and incredible characters seamlessly linked through Venice and its charm. A smashing story!’
My Shelves Are Full blog. See the full review here

‘I am so excited to see this mixture of mystery and fantasy finally make its way into middle grade fiction. Often explored separately, I am yet to see these two genres come together in such an interesting way. The Water's Daughter may just be the novel that fills a gap in middle–grade fantasy, by pairing mysteries and magical realism together in a children's book.’
Emily, QBD Books Knox City, VIC, Supanova
See the full review here

‘The book is a glorious flight of imagination, with excitement, humour and
glamour in shed loads.’
Sue Purkiss, A Fool on a Hill blogspot
See the full review here

Michelle Lovric talked about the new book and the campaign to save the London and Venice from the invasion of the mega-ships for the radio broadcast
of The Great Get Together on June 21st.

The Mourning Emporium

An extract from The Mourning Emporium was also included in the programme, beautifully read and produced by Douglas Clarke–Wood.

New Writing

Michelle Lovric posted on The History Girls on July 10th: Why I'm not busy doing publicity for my new book ...

... and on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on July 27th: An Unexpected Place to Find a Lion

August & September Books

Amanda Craig, The Golden Rule
Candice Carty–Williams, Queenie
Marie-Helene Bertino, Parakeet
Julian Barnes, The Only Story
Dianne Hofmeyr, Paris Cat
Elif Shafak, The Architect's Apprentice
Thomas Nagel, What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
Doris Langley Moore, Lord Byron: Accounts Rendered














June & July 2020

The Water's Daughter

The jacket for Michelle Lovric's next novel for children, which will be published on July 9th by Orion Children's Books

June & July Books

Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook

Celia Rees, Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook
Warmly recommended!

Dr Dan, Married Man?

Also hugely recommended, Laurie Graham, Dr Dan, Married Man?


and Annabel Chown, Hidden
Sebastian Barry, A Thousand Moons
Billy Collins, The Trouble with Poetry
Billy Collins, Sailing Alone around the Room
Colum McCann, This Side of Brightness
Jeanine Cummins, American Dirt
Franco Gemelli, Fermate I rivoltosi
Paul Gallico, The Silent Miaow














April & May 2020

New Writing

On March 13th, Michelle Lovric posted a piece on the History Girls blog about plague in Venice’s past and present.

Michelle Lovric has been longlisted in the National Poetry Competition, which received over 16,000 entries.

April & May Books

Hannah Kent, The Good People
Frans de Waal, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light
Giambattista Della Porta, La Carbonaria
Julia Ward Howe, From the Oak to the Olive, A Plain record of a Pleasant Journey, 1868
Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco, Essays in the Study of Folk–Songs, 1886
























February & March 2020

'The Chastity of Aunts' by Michelle Lovric has been commended in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize, 2019, judged by Pat Boran & Kathryn Maris.

The Chastity of Aunts

Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty–five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

and yet aunts are promiscuous as
winter breaths mingling on the street.
No one can stop them issuing forth
from their auntly accommodations
and who can disentangle them from their desires?
Who doesn’t remember listening at the keyhole
to gentlemen relishing aunts in the afternoon?
Or blushing at a particular aunticular browsing history?
Who else but an aunt can and will explain
– with examples – what ‘transamorous’ means?
For every smile, aunts have ten tears;
for every caress, a little slap; for every grief, a glass of gin;
for every tumult, something in the bathroom cabinet.
Know the legion of aunts by their paint–stripping swears,
their Jane Austens and their Erica Jongs thin with thumbing,
the items of splendour in their underwear drawers,
the endearments dripping from their toned tongues,
their fingernails like archaeopteryx’s,
their eyes like opals falling through snow.
Aunts’ elbows are turnstiles, their cats of uncertain provenance,
their perfume unpronounceable, their powder dry,
their laugh like the washing machine’s final convulsion.
Their heels are pistons of industry; their knees are conch shells;
their chefs eschew television; their bookie’s on speed-dial.

Michelle Lovric’s forthcoming novel for children, The Water’s Daughter, will be published on July 9th 2020

STUDY IN VENICE. The Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice has issued new residential scholarship announcements (deadline: 10 March 2020).

The 7 scholarships, covering 2 months residencies, are offered – within the interdisciplinary context that characterizes the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore – to Italian and international scholars wishing to work on Italian culture–related research projects – especially that of the Veneto – in one of the following fields: art history, Venetian history, Renaissance Studies, literature, music, drama, early printed books and comparative cultures and spiritualities.

New Writing

Michelle Lovric’s next History Girls blog post will be on March 13th.

February & March Books

Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays of Travel
Noel Barr, The Conceited Lamb
Colin R Chapman, How Heavy, How Much and How Long?
John Betjeman, First and Last Loves
P.W. Joyce, English as We Speak it in Ireland
Amy Bloom, White Houses
Robert Anderson, Design Museum, Fifty Hats That Changed the World
Tess Gallagher, Midnight Lantern
Malcolm Smith, Hats: A Very Unnatural History (Animal Turn)
Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Anna Hoghton, The Mask of Aribella
W.R. Mitchell, A Passion for Puffins
Mary Jean Chan, Flèche
Niall Ferguson, The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power
Sara Collins, The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Pablo Neruda, Memoirs
William Goyen, The House of Breath
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk
Per Petterson, Anne Born, Out Stealing Horses
Richard Beard, The Day that Went Missing
William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow
Sandra Newman, Heavens
Joan Lennon, Stickleback
Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Richard Price, Painted, spoken
























December 2019 & January 2020

Michelle Lovric joined children's authors Anna Fargher, Ally Sherrick, Trisha Krauss, Lara Flecker, Hilary McKay, Michelle Harrison, Vashti Hardy and Chris Wormell, as well as children and parents for a Christmas Book Festival at Waterstones in the O2 Centre, Finchley Road on November 24th.

She will be talking with the photographer David Winston about capturing images of Venice in word and on film – and particularly at night – at the Circolo Italo-Britannico on Monday December 16th. This time, the event will be at the Collegium Tarsicii, San Marco 1731, 30124 Venezia.

Michelle Lovric's next book for children will be The Water's Daughter, set in Arabia and eighteenth-century Venice. It is due out in Summer 2020.

A review for The Wishing Bones

The Wishing Bones

Lovric creates a vivid and historically detailed Venice with rich characters that provide a powerful message to the reader that you are not your past and that you can still be a good person if you've done things you regret. A powerful ode to resilience and the importance of the family that you make for yourself.

Extract from a review on Read Plus

December & January Books

Glenn Gilbert, editor: Pidgin and Creole Languages Selected Essays By Hugo Schuchardt
Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
Margaret Atwood, The Testaments
Niall Williams, This is Happiness
Edna O'Brien, Girl
Rebecca Tamás, Witch
Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking
The Isobel Handbooks, Dainty Dishes for Slender Incomes
Daisy Johnson, Everything Under






















Dr Dan's Casebook


October & November 2019

Review for The Wishing Bones.

The Wishing Bones

New Writing

On July 10th, Michelle Lovric wrote about how Casanova fell foul of the Me Too movement in America.

For July 31st, Michelle Lovric interviewed Lyndsay Myers for An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on the subject of transnationalism.

On September 6th, she borrowed Joan Lennon's slot to introduce a new play.

The History Girls has now changed its format from daily to once a week.

Books for October & November

Laurie Graham, Dr Dan's Casebook
Lionel Shriver, The Standing Chandelier
Tamsin Winter, Being Miss Nobody
Francesca Armour-Chelu, Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero
Daisy Johnson, Everything Under
Nicholas Ostler, The Last Lingua Franca
Adam Nicolson, The Seabird's Cry
Niall Williams, Man and Boy
Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
Lara Maiklem, Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames









August & September 2019

The Wishing Bones

The Wishing Bones has just been published.
You can read more about the book here.
There will be a signing event at Waterstones:

Michelle Lovric
the author of
The Undrowned Child
will be signing copies of her new Venetian novel
The Wishing Bones

3.30pm August 4th at
Waterstones Finchley Road
O2 Centre
Finchley Road NW3 6LU

A reminder about FLOW

– a pair of water-themed creative writing masterclasses, November 9th & 23rd 2019. Two full days with best–selling authors Lucy Coats & Michelle Lovric in a historic loft on the Thames. £285.

Book through Eventbrite

New Writing

On June 10th Michelle Lovric posted on The History Girls about the rather tetchy Madonnas supervising children in every sestiere of Venice.

And on July 10th, she wrote about the carnivorous hotel that is the setting of The Wishing Bones, and how it was inspired by a real hotel in the Blue Mountains north of Sydney.

Michelle Lovric's novels are referenced in "Saving Venice": Local, Global and Transnational Perspectives on Cultural Heritage in Children's Fantasy, a paper by Lindsay Myers.On July 31st, Michelle Lovric's posting an interview on An Awfully Big Adventure, talking with Lindsay Myers about these issues.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th

Books for August & September

Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry
Amitav Ghosht, The Gun Ship
Barbara Lynn-Davis, Casanova's Secret Wife
Ian Kelly, Casanova
Andrew Miller, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
Denise Dreher, From the Neck Up
Antonio Iturbe, The Librarian of Auschwitz

























































The Wishing Bones


June & July 2019

The Wishing Bones

Michelle Lovric will be taking part in
"Casanova in Place: A Symposium in Venice"

June 28-30, 2019

Lectures and film screening at Centro Culturale Don Orione Artiginelli, Dorsoduro Reception at Galleria il Redentore, Giudecca

Known as one of the eminent travellers of the 18th century, Giacomo Casanova visited much of Europe and wrote one of the era's most important chronicles, as much a travel account as an autobiography. Exploring his interactions with people in the many cities he visited and on the roads reveals insights into both the man and his times. How do we, of other places and times, expand our understanding of his contributions?

The Symposium will include papers, an author panel, a reception, and an exclusive screening of the film version of the ballet Casanova by Northern Ballet. Optional extra excursions include a trip on the Burchiello, walking tours to Casanova sites in Venice, and a visit to the Casanova Museum. Registration is now open at

Presented by Kathleen Ann Gonzalez, author of Casanova's Venice: A Walking Guide (also known as Seductive Venice: In Casanova's Footsteps) and Malina Stefanovska, University of California, Los Angeles.


a pair of water-themed creative writing masterclasses

November 9th and 23rd 2019

How many water–words are associated with writing?

Inspiration wells up or runs dry. From it, we distil ideas. We plot a course through the unfathomable. Writing has depth – or shallows. It has a wave–like rhythm. We immerse ourselves in good words, indeed we can almost drown in them. A writer, like water, reflects and can scintillate. Great writing flows in liquid syllables.

These two masterclasses offer a rare opportunity to work with two experienced and successful writers in a beautiful historic loft on the edge of the great River Thames in the watery heart of London.

The workshops are not just for writing about water; we will teach you to deploy water as a vital fluid in your creative practice.

  • Working not just with words but also with sound and image, we shall plunge you into stimulating writing scenarios.
  • We shall generate a creative lexicon of water.
  • You'll give gifts to the water and receive inspiration in exchange.
  • You'll learn how to embed watery hooks in your scenario to make them irresistible to the reader.
  • You'll write monsters from the deep, both mythic and modern.
  • You'll be handling historic artefacts and looking at the built environment and the river itself in new writing-oriented ways.

This kind of work is a tide that will not go out. With each exercise, we shall build on the material you create, cross–referencing and adding depth. There will be more than writing to take away from each session. The exercises will generate seed material for you to develop and nurture your creativity beyond the hours you spend here.

Facilitators: Michelle Lovric, novelist, poet, journalist, RLF Fellow and creative writing tutor; Lucy Coats, writer for children and young adults, journalist, writing tutor and specialist in multicultural myths and legends. Lucy and Michelle have for several years taught masterclasses at The Guardian.

Cost: £285 for two full-day sessions. Book via Eventbrite

Hours are 9.45am till 4.30pm. Numbers are limited to eleven places. For further information or to book, please email

This venue is not suitable for anyone allergic to short-haired cats.

"Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips." Jean Giraudoux

New Writing

On the History Girls website, on April 10th, Michelle Lovric wrote about reliquaries and mourning the death of a special cat.

On May 10th she wrote about the special Venetian phenomenon of light dancing in dark places.

Her next History Girls blog will on June 10th

Books for June & July

Vesna Goldsworthy, Monsieur Ka
Michael Ondaatje, Warlight
Giles Milton, White Gold





























April & May 2019

The Wishing Bones

Presenting the cover for The Wishing Bones, out on July 25th this year. The young Casanova is a character in this new novel for children. Michelle Lovric will be a panellist at the 'Casanova in Place' symposium in Venice at the end of June.

New Writing

Michelle posted a piece about cats in mediaeval manuscripts on The History Girls blog on February 10th.

David Winston photographer

And on March 10th, she wrote about David Winston, a photographer who captures the dark essence of Venice.

Her next History Girls' post will be on April 10th

Books for April & May

Tahir Shah, The Caliph's House
G. Willow Wilson, Alif the Unseen
Michelle Longega Wilson, Lost in Venice
Kristen Halverson, The Tale of Masha: A Cat's Magical Meatball
Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800
Saviour Pirotta, The Gold Horseman of Bagdad
M.J. Carter, The Infidel Stain
Patrick McCabe, The Dead School
Tony Lee, illustrated by Sam Hart, Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O'Malley
Carol DeVaughn, Life Class, reviewed here in London Grip
Alex Josephy, White Roads






Due to unforeseen circumstances, the FLOW workshops have been postponed until November 9th and 23rd 2019.





























February & March 2019

As promised, more details on the Flow workshops
in London this Spring...


a pair of creative writing masterclasses

Thursday March 21nd and Thursday April 4th, 2019

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

How many water‐words are associated with writing?

Inspiration wells up or runs dry. From it, we distil ideas. We plot a course through the unfathomable. Writing has depth ‐ or shallows. It has a wave‐like rhythm. We immerse ourselves in good words, indeed we can almost drown in them. A writer, like water, reflects and can scintillate. Great writing flows in liquid syllables.

These two masterclasses offer a rare opportunity to work with two experienced and successful writers in a beautiful historic loft on the edge of the great River Thames in the watery heart of London.

The workshops are not just for writing about water; we will teach you to deploy water as a vital fluid in your creative practice.

  • Working not just with words but also with sound and image, we shall plunge you into stimulating writing scenarios.
  • We shall generate a creative lexicon of water.
  • You'll give gifts to the water and receive inspiration in exchange.
  • You'll learn how to embed watery hooks in your scenario to make them irresistible to the reader.
  • You'll write monsters from the deep, both mythic and modern.
  • You'll be handling historic artefacts and looking at the built environment and the river itself in new writing-oriented ways.

This kind of work is a tide that will not go out. With each exercise, we shall build on the material you create, cross‐referencing and adding depth. There will be more than writing to take away from each session. The exercises will generate seed material for you to develop and nurture your creativity beyond the hours you spend here.

Facilitators: Michelle Lovric, novelist, poet, journalist, RLF Fellow and creative writing tutor; Lucy Coats, writer for children and young adults, journalist, writing tutor and specialist in multicultural myths and legends. Lucy and Michelle have for several years taught masterclasses at The Guardian.

Cost: £285 for the two sessions, payable via Eventbrite or directly. It is necessary to do Session 1 to get the most out of Session 2.

Hours are 9.45am till 4.30pm. Numbers are limited to eleven places. For further information or to book, please email This venue is not suitable for anyone allergic to short-haired cats.

"Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips." Jean Giraudoux

New Writing

Michelle Lovric's new book for children, The Wishing Bones, will be published by Orion on July 25th 2019.

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on December 10th, writing a new instalment in her account of the fascinating Company of Christ and the Good Death in Venice.

And on January 10th, she wrote about how Venice does Christmas. Her next post on the History Girls' blog is February 10th.

Her next History Girls piece will appear on February 10th

Books for February & March

Paolo Nelli, ed, Il Naufragio della Querina
Vicki Claudio, ed, A Pastoral Letter to the Captives
Colin Sutton, Manhunt
Thom Gunn, Collected Poems
Chris Riddell, Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony
Roy Jacobsen, The Unseen
Andrew Wheatcroft, The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire
Henry Clarke, Tabulæ linguarum, 1793
An account of the extream misery of the Christian captives in Barbary. Written by a person, who had been a slave there a considerable time. Extracted from a book, entituled, An account of south-west Barbary: published by Mr. Simon Ockley, late professor of Arbick at Cambridge

Catherine de Govion Broglio Solari, Venice Under the Yoke of France and the Austrians, Volume II, 1824




























Life Class


December 2018 & January 2019

creative tutoring

Announcing a pair of Creative Writing Masterclasses


Thursday March 21nd and Thursday April 4th, 2019

These two masterclasses offer a rare opportunity to work with two experienced and successful writers in a beautiful historic loft on the water's edge in the heart of London.

Cost: £135 per session. Numbers are limited to eleven places. The venue is not suitable for anyone allergic to short-haired cats. More details about this workshop early in the new year.

To reserve a place, email (replacing the 'AT' with '©'. This helps cut down spamming.)

For more information about creating tutoring and mentoring, see this section of the website.

New Writing

Michelle Lovric posted a History Girls piece about hunting down Norwegian fishermen on the Venetian mainland on October 10th.

On November 5th (five days earlier than usual) she wrote about the infamous lack of a column of infamy in Venice.

Her review of the Ruskin exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice was published in The Companion in October.

Michelle's next History Girls blog will be on December 10th

Books for December & January

Carol DeVaughn, Life Class
Liz Jensen, The Paper Eater
Liz Jensen, War Crimes for the Home
Liz Jensen, Egg Dancing
Sophie Hannah, Selected Poems
Carol Ann Duffy, The Bees
Paul Muldoon, Maggot
Pàdraig Ò Tuama, In the Shelter
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
Lionel Shriver, Property
Gabriel Tallent, My Absolute Darling
Katherine Rundell, The Explorer
Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered
C. Klestinec (Editor), G. Matino (Editor), Art Faith and Medicine in Tintoretto's Venice
Patrick DeWitt, Under Major Domo Minor
Meg Pokrass, The Dog Looks Happy Upsidedown
Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito and Jitterbug perfume
Anna Burns, Milkman
Greg Bak, Barbary Pirate
C.S. Forester, Barbary Pirates


Anyone for seconds

Free-Range Writing


October & November 2018

Watch this space: new website pages going live soon on creative tutoring and masterclasses.

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on August 10th, writing about the silent victims of mass tourism.

And on September 10th, she interviewed writer Laurie Graham about the joys and problems of creating sequels to successful books.

Her next History Girls blog will be on October 10th

Books for October & November

Jenny Alexander, Free-Range Writing
Charles Dixon, British Sea Birds, 1896
CHESTER A. REED, B.S, The Bird Book, 1915
Brian Dillon, Tormented Hope
Franklin L. Ford, A General History of Europe 1780-1830
Englishman Abroad, Practical General Continental Guide, Part 1: France, Belgium, Holland, the Rhine, the Rhenish Spas, Parts of Germany, Austria, the Tyrol, and Venice, Switzerland, Savoy, Piedmont, Italy (1868)
Sebastian Barry, On Canaan's Side
Bruce Redford, Venice and the Grand Tour, 1670-1830
R.T. Claridge, Guide Down the Danube: From Paris to Marseilles, Ancona, Trieste, Venice, Munich, Strasburg; And From Vienna to Constantinople, Smyrna, Athens, the... to India by Way of Egypt
Noel Streatfield, Party Frock
Richard J. Evans, The Pursuit of Power, Europe 1814-1914
Jessie Burton, The Muse
Sebastian Barry, The Temporary Gentleman
Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things
Andrew Wheatcroft, The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
Frances Thurtle Jamieson, Popular Voyages and Travels, Throughout the Continents and Islands of Asia, Africa, and America
Catherine de Govion Broglio Solari, Venice Under The Yoke Of France And Of Austria: With Memoirs Of The Courts, Governments, People Of Italy : Presenting A Faithful Picture Of Her Anecdotes Of The Buonaparte Family; Volumes 1 and 2 Il naufragio della Querina. Veneziani nel circolo polare artico
Silvio Pellico, My Ten Years' Imprisonment, 1886 edition
W. S. C. RUSSELL, Iceland, Horseback Tours in Saga Land, 1900
Andrea di Robilant, Irresistible North
Morten Strøknes, Shark Drunk


The Undrowned Child



August & September 2018

New Writing

A lovely new review for The Undrowned Child:

On June 1st Michelle Lovric posted on The History Girls about the commemoration of the London Bridge terror attack and the ways in which the local community has sought and found healing.

And on July 10th, she wrote about the not-so-subtle signs of life one can read around Venice. She'd been hoping to bring exciting news of the Column of Infamy, but that story is still unfolding s-l-o-w-l-y.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th. Fingers crossed that it can be column-oriented.

Books for August & September

Roberto Tiraboschi, The Apothecary's Shop
Ann Gray, The Man I was Promised
John Boyne, A History of Loneliness
Inbali Iserles, The Taken
Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atosha station
John Boyne, A Ladder to the Sky
Richard Lloyd Parry, Ghosts of the Tsunami
RSPB Spotlight: Puffins
Serena Dyer, Bergere, Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth Century Headwear
Lorinda Perry, Millinery as a trade for women
Charlotte Rankin Aiken, Millinery
Nicole Galland, Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone


My Sister Milly



June & July 2018

Michelle Lovric has scripted a performance that will take place in Southwark Cathedral on June 3rd during a Grand Iftar to mark the anniversary of the terror attack on London Bridge and the Borough Market - which left eight people dead, 48 wounded and five hundred cordoned in or out of their homes and workplaces for days while the area remained in lockdown. The spoken word piece is based on the testimonies of many residents, community leaders and businesspeople who were caught up in the attack and its aftermath.

The paperback edition of My Sister Milly is published on June 14th 2018

Michelle Lovric is now a Reader for the Faber Academy.

From July 2018, she will also be available to mentor writers one-to-one on work-in-progress in the form of novels, poetry collections/pamphlets, memoirs, short stories, essays, speeches, thesis and dissertation work.

For further details, please contact, using an '@' in place of 'AT'. (This helps prevent spamming.)

New Writing

On the History Girls website, on April 10th, Michelle Lovric looked into a pair of pale pink hands.

On May 10th she wrote about a visit to a villa in the Veneto.

Her next History Girls blog will on June 1st - ten days earlier than usual, as she's writing about the first anniversary of the attack on London Bridge and the Borough Market.

Books for June & July

Elizabeth Strout, Amy and Isabelle
Leila Slimani, Lullaby
Andrei Makine, The Life of an Unknown Man
Joan Lennon, Granny Garbage
James Joyce, Pomes Penyeach
Ben Lerner, The Lichtenberg Figures
Sophia Bennett, Venus Unveiled
Sophia Bennet, Threads
Graham Stimson and Anne Buist, Two Steps
Paul Auster, 4,3,2,1
Jessie Greengrass, Sight
Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
Meena Kandasamy, When I Hit You
Elif Batuman, The Idiot
Mario Vargas Llosa, The Neighbourhood

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il veccio leone

The God Baby


April & May 2018

New Writing

Michelle posted a piece about the literary phenomenon of the Purple Cow on The History Girls blog on February 10th.

And on March 10th, she reviewed Salvatore Settis’s book, If Venice Dies.

Her next History Girls post will be on April 10th.

Books for April & May

Hilda Sheehan, The God Baby
Meg Wolitzer, The Wife
Ann Gray, Painting Skin
Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves
Salvatore Settis, If Venice dies
Fiona Mozley, Elmet
Joan Lennon, Walking Mountain
Elena Nicolai, Il Vecchio Leone



Il Cipiglio Del Gufo, Tiziano Scarpa


Febrary & March 2018

Venice News

Well-loved Venetian writer Tiziano Scarpa has launched his new novel, Il Cipiglio del Gufo (The Frown of the Owl) at a packed reading in the Einaudi bookshop in Venice.

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on December 10th, writing about the commercial invasion of Venice by mega cruise-ships. This post, ‘Suicide by Greed’, received more than 17,000 views in three weeks.

And on January 10th, she wrote about a devilish monkey outed and cast out by a clever priest. Her next post on the History Girls’ blog is February 10th.

Her review of Vathek, ‘Enough Gothic to give Ten Cathedrals Indigestion’, appeared on the writers review site on January 8th.

Books for February & March

Katharine McMahon, The Crimson Rooms
Sue Purkiss, Jack Fortune
John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies
Julie Bell, Massive
Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends
Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State
Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great
Christopher Berry-Dee, Talking with Psychopaths and Savages
Francesca Segal, Innocents

The Bridport Prize 2017

Mu and Vathek

Disappearing Tracks


December 2017 & January 2018

On October 21st, Michelle Lovric was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Bridport Prize poetry competition for her poem ‘Niece Comes Out of the Attic’. The poem is printed in The Bridport Prize 2017 anthology.

One judge, Lemn Sissay, said this of the poem: ‘In ‘Niece comes out of the attic’, I was gripped by the gothic in this poem. And by what was not said. It's beautiful. Powerful. Evocative.’

New Writing

Michelle posted an interview with Gregory Dowling on the History Girls website for October 10th.

On November 10th, she wrote about the Gothic in literature, architecture and other media.

Michelle's next History Girls blog will be on December 10th. Her review of one of the earliest Gothic novels, William Beckford’s Vathek will shortly appear on the Writers Review website.

Books for December & January

Geraldine Paine, Disappearing Tracks: A Story in Verse
Charles Reznikoff: Testimony, The United States 1885 - 1890 Recitative
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardod
Amanda Craig, A Private Place
Amanda Craig, Foreign Bodies
Jane Harper, The Dry
William Beckford, Vathek
Kathleen Ann Gonzalez, A Beautiful Woman in Venice
Javier Marías, Venice, An Interior




Undrowned Child

Elena Nicolai book


October & November 2017

New Writing

My Sister Milly has reached the Number 1 spot on Amazon and featured in the Sunday Times best-seller list.

Michelle Lovric did a book-signing for The Undrowned Child at Waterstones in the Finchley Road O2 centre on Saturday 26th August.

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on August 10th, writing about doors and door furniture in the classics and in Venice.

And on September 10th, she described a poetic interlude among the forests and lakes of north east Poland.

Her next History Girls blog will be on October 10th

Books for October & November

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
Amanda Craig, The Lie of the Land
Amanda Craig, Hearts and Minds
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
Barney Norris, Five Rivers met On a Wooded Plain
Olivier Roy, Jihad and Death
Elena Nicolai, Percorsi di letteratura ed arte nell'età umanistico-rinascimentale
Gregory Dowling, The Four Horsemen






August & September 2017

New Writing

Michelle Lovric interviewed Vicky Bennison about the Pasta Granny phenomenon in an illustrated blog on the History Girls on June 10th.

And on July 10th, she introduced Southwark's most famous quack, who sold sunbeams in a pill.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th.

Books for August & September

Marie-Helen Bertino, 2am at the Cat's Pajamas
Naomi Alderman, The Power
Caitlin Moran, Moranifesto
Kit Berry, Magus of Stonewylde


My Sister Milly





Michelle Lovric is the co-writer of My Sister Milly by Gemma Dowler, published on June 29th by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Books.

The book tells the inside story of the Dowler family before and after disappearance of thirteen-year-old Milly on March 21st 2002. Through the eyes of her sister, Gemma Dowler, we see a candid portrait of the very special person Milly really was. We experience the shock of Milly’s disappearance, the agony of protracted search, the tragic discovery of her remains and the eventual conviction of her murderer in a traumatic trial, the phone-hacking scandal that brought down the News of the World and the shocking disclosures, more than a decade later, of what really happened to Milly. The Dowler family has waited many years to tell their story. Now it emerges in Gemma’s brave, distinctive voice. For the first time, Gemma and her family show how - with love, humour, music and the help of an extraordinary therapist - they have survived more tragedy than anyone should have to bear.

Gemma Dowler will be doing various television and radio interviews about the book in the course of this week and the next.


Dr Seuss's The Seven Lady Godivas

Rattlum Snakorum




June & July 2017

New Writing

On the History Girls website, on April 10th, Michelle Lovric looked into the strange case of Dr Seuss’s one and only flop.

On May 10th she wrote about a piece of Victorian paper engineering known as the Rattlum Snakorum.

Her next History Girls blog will be on June 10th.

Books for June & July

David Mitchell, Slade House
Michael Chabon, Moonglow
Patrick Marber, Don Juan in Soho
Anne Patchett, Commonwealth
Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13
Rose Tremain, Letter to Sister Benedicta
Rose Tremain, The Way I Found Her
Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree


Stories of Inspiration: Historical Fiction Edition, Volume 1





April & May 2017

An essay by Michelle Lovric is included in this new publication, Stories of Inspiration: Historical Fiction Edition, Volume 1: Historical Fiction Writers Trace Their Journeys from Starting Point to Finished Work, edited by Suzanne Fox.

New Writing

Michelle posted a piece about the social melting pot that was an old Venetian Apothecary for The History Girls blog on February 10th.

And on March 10th, she wrote about the George Bernard Shaw cookbook ‐ yes, it really is a thing.

Her next History Girls’ post will be on April 10th.

Books for April & May

Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls
Mark Twain, Is Shakespeare Dead?
Michael Chabon, Moonglow
Rose Tremain, The Colonel’s Daughter
Rose Tremain, The American Lover
Francis Spufford, Golden Hill
Sebastian Barry, Days Without End


The Book of Human Skin





February & March 2017

There’s an interesting review of The Book of Human Skin by Josie Jaffrey at The Gin Book Club: An extract: I knew I was going to love this book the moment I saw it. Joanne Harris says on the cover: "I don’t think I have enjoyed anything as much since Perfume", and it’s an apt comparison. I loved Perfume: the tangible world, the focus on sensation and the twisted empathy that was created by Suskind for his anti-hero. The Book of Human Skin has the former in common with Suskind’s novel, but not the latter two. It does, however, share something of Perfume’s darkness.

The story is centred around Marcella, and is narrated in short chapters from the perspective of various characters (Marcella, Minguillo, a servant, a doctor and a nun) who feature heavily in the story. This technique had the potential to alienate and disorientate readers, but I was hooked from the very first page. Lovric’s writing is so accomplished, the deft character notes so compelling, that I resented having to put it down at bedtime.

There are moments of horror, but not the ones that I was expecting from the title. Instead, the narrative is filled with tension, desperation, and later a sense of impotence and frustration as Minguillo unleashes various subtle tortures upon his sister. And subtlety is the key here: Lovric doesn’t hammer us over the head with gory or gruesome plot devices. Instead, she focusses on the psychological to great effect. See the full review here.

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on December 10th, writing about the original snake oil and its salesmen.

And on January 10th, she wrote about Grandeur and Curiosity as manifested by different writers.

Her next post on the History Girls’ blog is February 10th.

Books for February & March

Oswald Wynd, The Ginger Tree (with thanks to Eila Huxford for the recommendation)
Jodi Picoult, Small Great Things
Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last
Tomaz Salamun, Homage to Hat and Uncle Guido and Eliot: Selected Poems
Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers
Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way
Graeme Macrae Burnet, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau






December 2016 & January 2017

New Writing

On the History Girls, Michelle posted about an unusual little book for October 10th.

On November 10th, she blogged about apothecaries in Venice in a piece called The Great Venice Boil-Off.

Michelle’s next History Girls blog will be on December 10th.

December & January books

Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen
Sebastian Barry, A Long, Long Way
Graeme Macrae Burnet, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau
Patrick Gale, A Place Called Winter
Deborah Levy, Hot Milk
Tracy Chevalier, The Last Runaway
Rebecca Peyton and Martin M Bartelt, Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister


health jolting chair





October & November 2016

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on August 10th, writing about the lyrics to miserable Country & Western songs through history.

And on September 10th, she wrote about an extraordinary quack apparatus known as the Health Jolting Chair.

Her next History Girls blog will be on October 10th.

October & November books

Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl
Louisa Young, Devotion
Marietta Jaeger, The Lost Child
Graham Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project












August & September 2016

Chapter 26, a blog about travelling and reading, has given a thoughtful review to The Book of Human Skin.

New Writing

Michelle Lovric’s article, ‘A Carnivorous Hotel: fantastical fiction and baroque reality’ was released on the RLF website on Monday July 18.

She wrote about quack aphrodisiacs in an illustrated blog on the History Girls on June 10th.

And on July 10th, she explored the old idea of prognostication using bodily moles.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th.

August & September books

Flann O’Brien, Myles before Myles
Ryan Graudin, Wolf by Wolf
Carlo Lucarelli, Day after Day
Amy Bloom, Away
Han Kang, The Vegetarian
Helen Simonson, The Summer Before the War

Harristown Sisters audiobook












June & July 2016

The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters audio book has received an AudioFile Earphones Award. The review says

Caroline Lennon’s lilting performance is splendid in this lively look at morality and the Victorians’ well-documented obsession with hair. In 1865, the seven Swiney sisters of Harristown, Ireland, are endowed with luxurious, lustrous, overabundant tresses--from golden to raven black--and beautiful voices. To avoid starvation, they become The Swiney Godivas, a vaudeville act. They sing, dance, and perform mini hair-related dramas, and as the pièce de résistance, they let down their hair. Lennon captures the melodic Irish rhythms in both descriptions and dialogue. Each sister’s voice is unique--sweet or whiny or fierce. The story is based on the real-life Sutherland sisters of upstate New York, who were also known for their lavish locks. Top-notch listening.

New Writing

On the History Girls website, Michelle Lovric’s April 10th post was taken by Lucy Coats, writing about Cleopatra, the heroine of her two YA novels.

On May 10th she wrote about mining idiomatic language to create characters’ voices.

Her next History Girls blog will on June 10th.

June & July books

Diane Wakowski, Emerald Ice
Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver
J.G. Ballard, High-Rise
Cynthia Bond, Ruby
Renee Knight, Disclaimer
Joanna Cannon, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies
Paul Murray, The Mark and the Void,
Duncan Campbell, We’ll All be Murdered in our Beds
Hannah Rothschild, The Improbability of Love
Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen















The Forgotten Summer


April & May 2016

Venice News

A message from Mother Goose in Venice:

Dear friends,
We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting bookings for the 2016 Pantomime Mother Goose. This year the Pantomime in Venice is being staged with a few months’ delay. We wanted to wait for all the marvellous actors in the cast to be in perfect shape and in perfect health, to ensure everybody great enjoyment.

Remember that the theatre is quite small, and bookings are obligatory, so contact your friends and email us soon to get your seats. Please write us with the number of seats and the date desired. You will receive a confirmation email. Below you will find specific information on the shows.

Looking foward to seeing you at the theatre!

Traditionally there is no charge for admittance to the performances of the Pantomime in Venice, but we ask our contented spectators to make donations to charity as they leave the theatre. Donations from the 2016 Pantomime will go to the non-profit organisation "La Gabbianella", dedicated to the rights of foster children and to giving the warmth of a family to the children who live with their mothers at the women’s prison on the island of the Giudecca in Venice. For more information see


All attendees must have an obligatory advance booking, and once admitted to the theatre, the seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. However, with our Friend of the Pantomime (FOP) programme, for a donation of €25 or more, a FOP will get preferred, reserved seating to a performance of their choice, and recognition in our programmes. Become a "Friend of the Pantomime", by sending your contribution of €25 or more to Pantomime in Venice (Banca Carige IBANIT87F0343102053000000274570) or by paypal to

To keep up-to-date on Pantomime news go to Facebook "Panto Venezia" or follow us on Twitter at "Panto Venice". To contact us, please leave a message at +39 331 8090333 or email us at

New Writing

Michelle posted a piece about quack beauty cures for women for The History Girls blog on February 10th.

And on March 10th, she wrote about W.G. Sebald’s pockets and the interesting things a writer might find in them.

In April – Shakespeare month – her History Girls blogspot will go to Lucy Coats, writing about Cleopatra, in and out of the plays. Chosen, the second of Lucy’s novels about young Cleopatra, is published this month.

April & May books

Carol Drinkwater, The Forgotten Summer
Feyyaz Fergar, The Bright is Dark Enough
Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days
Donna Leon, Drawing Conclusions, A Question of Belief, By Its Covr
Lucretia Grindle, The Lost Daughter
Richard Barnett, The Sick Rose or, Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration
Richard Bean, Great Britain
Roddy Doyle, A Star Called Henry
Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways














February & March 2016

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on December 15th, writing about the commercial humiliation of a sober old industrial building in the historic heart of London.

And on January 10th, she wrote about the deplorable habits of the Jacana spinosa and the loading of historical language against female sexuality.

Her next post on the History Girls’ blog is February 10th.

February & March books

Mackenney, Richard, Tradesmen and traders: the world of the guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250 - c.1650
A. Wear, R.K. French and I.M. Lonie eds, The medical renaissance of the sixteenth century
Crawshaw, Jane L. Stevens, Plague hospitals: public health for the city in early modern Venice
Alexander Cowan and Jill Steward eds, The city and the senses: urban culture since 1500
Pullan, Brian S, Rich and poor in Renaissance Venice: the social institutions of a Catholic state, to 1620
Gilly Macmillan, Burnt Paper Sky
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
Adele Geras, Out of the Dark
Caroline Hodgson, For the Love of Radio 4
Andrew O’Hagan, The Illuminations
Nelli Elena Vanzan Marchini. Venezia, La Salute e la Fede, Le Terme di Venezia
Renato Vecchiato, Gli Speziali di Venezia
Carlo Goldoni, Lo Speziale
Girolamo Dian, Cenni storici sulla farmacia veneta
Collana Schiapparelli (Edizioni Skema) Per una storia della farmacia e del farmacista in Italia - Venezia e Veneto.














December 2015 & January 2016

More Guardian Masterclasses on How to Write for Children, with Lucy Coats and Michelle Lovric: Saturday January 26th is the next date.

There was a very animated meeting of ‘The Venetians’ book club, discussing The Book of Human Skin, at Michelle Lovric’s London home on November 8th. Among other things, the Book Club members suggested a cast-list for the ‘forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster’, including

Benedict Cummerbatch, Dane Deehan, Andrew Scott or Eddie Redmayne for Minguillo
Emma Watson for Marcella
Robert Sheehan for Gianni
Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton for mad Sor Loreta
Ben Whishaw for Fernando Fasan Junior
Orlando Bloom or Luke Evans for Piero Zen
Sofia Vergara for Beatriz Villafuerte
Meryl Streep for the Priora
Penelope Cruz for Rafaella
Rosamund Pike for Cecilia Cornaro
John Hannah for Hamish Gilfeather
Tom Hiddleston for Doctor Santo Aldobrandini
Sophie McShera for Anna
Benjamin Bratt for Fernando Fasan Senior

To continue the theme of films, Darren Hartwell of Book Zone (for Boys), would like to see a film of The Undrowned Child.

On the Middlegradestrikesback blog, he wrote, ‘Michelle is one of my favourite middle grade writers and I totally love her Venice-set fantasy stories. I would love to see Spielberg directing this one, or alternatively I would love to see a Studio Ghibli version - could someone please persuade Hayao Miyazaki to come out of retirement (again)?

New Writing

On the History Girls, Michelle posted about Saint Dimitri the Myrrh Gusher, patron saint of Thessaloniki, for October 10th.

On November 10th she blogged about how art mimics lit-life and the discovery of a Biennale exhibit in Venice that seemed to perfectly capture the Ravageurs, creatures she invented for Talina in the Tower.

Michelle’s next History Girls blog will be on December 10th.

December & January books

Simon Mawer, Swimming to Ithaca
Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman
Emily St John Mandel, The Lola Quartet
Laline Paull, The Bees
Anne Enright, The Green Road
Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family?
Malala Yousafzai, I am Malala


Best Books of 21st Century












Acension by Gregory Dowling


October & November 2015

Michelle Lovric’s The Book of Human Skin has been included in the best books of the 21st century by newbooks magazine. You can see the entry on

Michelle Lovric’s Venice-set novels have been included in on, a website that enables you to search for fiction by its geographical setting. The founder, Helen Harbord, explains, ‘Yonndr is all about location ‐ you type in the name of a worldwide location and get a list of novels set in that place. It’s a fantastic travel companion as you can also find books set in your current location and then filter the results by genre and/or time period.

Links to Michelle Lovric’s books:

New Writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on August 10th, writing about about Mouths of Truth in Venetian walls.

And on September 10th, she interviewed Gregory Dowling about his new Venice-set novel, Ascension.

October & November books

Gregory Dowling, Ascension
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
Sandra Newman, Cake
Kathleen Benner Duble, Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice
Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone
Jonathan Galassi, Muse


Harristown Sisters at Daunt bookshop

Mu yawning














































August & September 2015

The new paperback edition of the Harristown Sisters is on display at Daunts in London (left). Thanks to Paola de Carolis for the picture.

With Lucy Coats, Michelle Lovric will be teaching more Guardian Master classes on How to Write for Children this coming Autumn.

New Writing

Michelle Lovric wrote about the unbroken thread of cats in her four relaunched novels, in an illustrated blog on the History Girls on June 10th.

And on July 10th, she wrote about two male faces of compelling character.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th.

Venice News

The Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice has designed, or redesigned, a range of postcards and posters that address the serious problem of cruise liners in Venice.

Scuola Internazionale di Grafica

The famous Jacopo de Barbari map has been subtly adjusted to show the convergence of the cruise ships on the historic city


The Costa Concordia disaster has been transplanted to Venice

Costa Concordia in Venice

And a traffic jam of cruise ships is shown in the Giudecca canal


These items are available as posters, prints and postcards at the online shop

August & September books

Lucy Coats, Cleo
Ben Aaaronovitch, Rivers of London
Anna McKerrow, Crow Moon
Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name
Elena Ferrante, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Pincus, Lily.: Death and the family : the importance of mourning
McNally, Richard J.: Remembering trauma
Christ, Georg: Trading conflicts : Venetian merchants and Mamluk officials in late medieval Alexandria.
Ashtor, Eliyahu, 1914-: Studies on the Levantine trade in the Middle Ages
Canter, David, 1944-: Criminal shadows : inside the mind of the serial killer
Joan Lennon, Silver Skin
Dursteler, Eric.: Venetians in Constantinople : nation, identity, and coexistence in the early modern Mediterranean
Christian Riegel, ed, Response to death: the literary work of mourning
Brown, John, 1784-1858.: Comfortable words for Christian parents, bereaved of little children
Johnson, Pamela Hansford, 1912-1981.: On iniquity
Hentig, Hans von, 1887-1974.: The criminal & his victim
Walker, Nigel, 1917-: Crime and insanity in England



Harristown Sisters





Undrowned Child (Italian cover)












In A New Light

A Humble Companion


June & July 2015

Book news

The True & Splendid History of The Harristown Sisters is published in paperback with its new jacket on June 5th

Suzanne Fox at Society 19 website has published a detailed interview with Michelle Lovric. Here is an extract from the introduction....

As a longtime fan of British author Michelle Lovric’s intricate, inventive, and vividly atmospheric novels, I was delighted to see her journey down some of the odder (and hairier) byways of the nineteenth century in The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, published in 2014 by Bloomsbury in both the UK and USA. The novel offers both an absorbing realistic narrative and the magical pleasures of parable and fable; similarly, it’s at once true to the historical realities of its period and entirely contemporary in its relevance, themes and questions. Add to that a story touching on objectification of the female body, medical misconception and quackery, financial success and chicanery, sisterly bonds and conflicts, female power and powerlessness, Ireland, Venice, music, mothering, an absent and mysterious father, love, redemption, hair tonic, dolls, and some of the best female character names since the Bible (not to mention another score of items too lengthy to mention here) and you have a book that’s the narrative equivalent of a wunderkammern. I won’t go into her impressive biography here, as this introduction is growing as long as the Swiney Godivas’ tresses, but please visit Michelle Lovric’s website,, for that and her latest news.... and note that UK readers will be able to buy The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters as well as Carnevale, The Floating Book, and The Remedy in new paperback editions this June. All that said, Society Nineteen is pleased to talk with Michelle Lovric about the novel, her work, and more.

Readings from The Undrowned Child were performed in the Garden of Thetis at Arsenale on Saturday April 25th, with Oreste Sabadin reading from the Italian edition (pictured left) and playing the clarinet, and Francesca Saccani accompanying him with images. The event was organised by Wigwam, the society for garden history in Venice, and was entitled ‘Monsters and Mermaids in the Orchard.’


Exhibition in Venice:


‘Maproom: Sospesi tra due elementi’
22 May - 14 June 2015

Scuola Internazionale di Grafica
Cannaregio 1798, Venezia 30121
+39-041-721-950 · fax +39-041-524-2374

 Deidre Kelly

Michelle Lovric’s lecture at the Aman Hotel, Venice, due on June 20th, has been postponed.

New writing

On the History Girls website, Michelle Lovric posted her personal Happy Birthday to Giacomo Girolamo Casanova on April 10th

On May 10th she wrote about The Undrowned Child performance with music and art in the Garden of Thetis.

Her next History Girls blog will on June 10th.

June and July books

Susannah Rutherglen, Charlotte Hale et al, In a New Light, Giovanni Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert
Elena Ferrante, Days of Abandonment
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Tullio Lombardo
Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows
David Flusfeder, John the Pupil
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train
Laurie Graham, A Humble Companion
Rachel Cusk, The Outline
Adelle Waldman, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
Gita Sereny, Cries Unheard
Paul and Coral Jones, April


























Elia Huxford and Michelle


Byron - Venice, An English Milord in Europe and Italy

Mermaid on Seahorse



April & May 2015

Book news

The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters will be published in paperback by Bloomsbury on June 18th 2015, with a brand new cover. At the same time Bloomsbury will be re-launching her previous novels in paperback, also with new covers:

The Floating Book
The Remedy

The True and Splendid History of the Harristown SistersCarnevaleThe Floating BookThe Remedy

On June 20th, Michelle Lovric will be giving a talk about the Harristown Sisters at the Aman Hotel, also known as Palazzo Papadopoli, where the sisters live during their sojourn in Venice.

Michelle Lovric is judging a creative writing competition for The Royal Society for Literature. The subject is ‘The Unfamiliar’, and the competition is for students at Kings College London, where Michelle is one of the Royal Literary Fund Fellows at the Graduate School.

The prize is an opportunity to win a place on their forthcoming creative writing masterclass - Writing the Unfamiliar - with Kamila Shamsie. Taking place in Somerset House on 11th April, 10.30am, this class considers how to make the unfamiliar familiar enough to write about - with particular reference to place and time period. Further details of the class can be found on the RSL website here.

Kamile Shamsie

The Washbrook Book Club, led by Eila Huxford, met at Michelle Lovric’s London home on February 13th to discuss The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters. Among matters discussed were the interesting names of the eponymous sisters, the Irish and Venetian settings of the book, and also the close friendships between writers, particularly among the blogging cooperative, The History Girls, including Laurie Graham, whose work is much admired by the Washbrook Book Club. At left, Michelle Lovric thanks Eila Huxford for her marvellous and penetrating questions about The Harristown Sisters.

Venice News

This wonderful video of Venice in the 1940s shows a city of children, in pairs, in lines led by nuns, in boats, climbing mysterious staircases. There is no trace of the war though perhaps the wistfulness alludes to the Jewish children who were deported, to their deaths.

Two new books about Venice have been published by The San Marco Press:

Byron - Venice, An English Milord in Europe and Italy is by Anne Amison, intimate account of the poet. The author has drawn on original correspondence and, as she puts it, ‘shoe leather. She comments in her note on the sources that she has walked the city, visiting all of Byron’s haunts. ‘In short, if a location is mentioned in the text, I’ve done my best to visit it: my partner once remarked that if Byron were alive today he would take out a restraining order on me.’

Venezia e’ una regatta is edited by Maurizio Crovato, with a wonderful preface by Venetian writer Tiziano Scarpa. This book traces the regattas of the lagoon, boat by boat, month by month, island by island.

New writing

Michelle posted a piece about the mysterious nature of sea horses for The History Girls blog on February 10th.

And on March 10th, she wrote about the strange case of the missing pier gates from Mr Roots’s horse hospital in London. The blog received many comments and has been referred to the Conservation Officer in Southwark.

April and May books

Karen Maitland, Company of Liars
Anna McPartlin, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
Sandra Newman, The Country of Ice Cream Star


Harristown Sisters





















February & March 2015

Bloomsbury’s UK cover for The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters made it into The Huffington Post’s top 20 covers for 2014

On June 20th, Michelle Lovric will give an illustrated talk about the book at Venice’s Aman Hotel (site of the Clooney nuptials and also the setting for the Venetian part of The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.

Fleur in her World has given the book a lovely review

There are books that you love, and then there are books that lift you up, spin you around, and then drop you back to earth, dazzled. ‘The True and Splendid Adventures of the Harristown Sisters’ is one of those books; a captivating story packed full of full of characters, incidents and images.

There were seven Swiney sisters, and they were all blessed with fantastic rivers of hair, cascading below their knees and ranging in color from honey gold to copper red to the deepest black.  Darcy, the eldest, was dark-haired and dark-hearted; twins Berenice and Enda bickered incessantly; Oona was gentle and fair; Pertilly was plain and Stolid; Ida was the youngest, a wild fairy queen; and flame-haired middle sister, Manticory, would tell all of their stories and the stories of them all.

The were all beautifully, richly and distinctively drawn, and each sister has her own role in the story that was to come ....

The telling of the story is sublime, the prose is gorgeously descriptive, somehow rich, poetic and earthy all at the same time. The settings are magically evoked, they live and breathe, and so many story strands - same that are predictable and some that are anything but - are woven together to make a glorious tapestry of a book.

There’s wit, there’s colour and there’s love threaded through what might otherwise have been a very dark story.

And at the centre of it all are those fascinating, infuriating sisters; they quarrel bitterly, they feud, they take sides against each other, but they also cling together and keep each others secrets. Such a wonderful portrayal of sisterhood! I loved watching them all interact, and their conversations were a joy.

I loved Manticory’s narration; I loved the way the story played out; I loved that there was a thread of feminism that was strained at the time but that never quite broke; I loved so many things ....

This story was inspired by the true story of the ‘Seven Sutherland Sisters,’ who were once household names in America, who used their locks to sell hair products, who found fame and fortune; and who at one time owned the grandest of mansions where they lived together ....

That story sounds fascinating, and really it couldn’t have inspired a finer fiction.

The True and Splendid Adventures of the Harristown Sisters’ more than lives up to its name; it pulled me into its world, it held me spell-bound, and I was so sorry when the story was over and I had to let go’

Fleur in her World, December 27th 2014

And there’s another one at Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices

This is a beautifully well written sensitive book! The descriptions are harsh, but accurate and the struggles of poverty and of being young unprotected women in a men’s world as described by Ms. Lovric is stripped of all romance. The story line is strong, the plot completely plausible and the pace is breathless and keeps you running page after page. There are lovely descriptions of Venice and the author lovingly details all its splendor and grandeur! But what really holds the book together is the characterization of the sisters; I have rarely ever come across an ensemble where the entire cast is so unique and glitteringly brilliant. Ms. Lovric infuses life, independence and exclusive personality to each of the sisters to make them stand apart from the other. Darcy is mean bully, Manticory the intellectual, Pertilly, the ugly one in a family of beauties, gentle Oona, the constant hatred of the twins and shy and sensitive Ida. As you follow the sisters through their rags to riches and then back to rags story, the reader is subjected the entire spectrum of sisterhood - hatred and love, envy and generosity and while they slowly fall under different influences, they also cling together in their tribaldom. You might not like all of them, you may not even relate to all of them, but you cannot, you simply cannot ignore any one of them. They jump out of the pages of the book and grip your imagination and stay with you even after you have long finished reading it!’

Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices January 5th 2015

The Washbrook Book Club will be reviewing The Harristown Sisters with Michelle Lovric in London on February 20th.


New writing

On the History Girls December 10th, Michelle Lovric blogged about how famous writers of history have named their cats.

And on January 10th she contributed a piece about a year in Venice to mark the achievements of the father of printing, Aldo Manuzio.

Her next post on the History Girls’ blog is on February 10th.


February books

Sophia Toibin, The Silversmith’s Wife
Katherine Webb, The Misbegotten
Terry Hayes, I am Pilgrim







Harristown Sisters






















December 2014 & January 2015

More Guardian Masterclasses on How to Write for Children, with Lucy Coats and Michelle Lovric:

Thursday 22 January 2015
Click here to book

Saturday 14 March 2015
Click here to book

Another review of those Harristown Sisters

This is such a fun book. Black as all hell, but fun nevertheless.

It tells the story of seven sisters with outlandish names (I particularly fell for Pertilly and Manticory) and even more outlandish hair which, in the age of Millais’s Ophelia, makes them popular with men of a slightly grubby, fetishistic persuasion, a couple of whom see a business opportunity and proceed to exploit the poor backwoods girls mercilessly.  They are not alone, however: demonic eldest sister, Darcy - who, in a surreal twist late in the book, actually becomes physically diabolical - is a stunning literary villain, and from the very beginning, the reader’s heart aches for her comeuppance. But this is just one of the many strands, woven like a lustrous auburn plait into a complex plot, that urges you through Manticory’s narrative to the explosive denouement.

The characters themselves are key here, and all fulfil their given roles beautifully … It has something to say (perhaps about the eternal exploitation of women, perhaps about society’s worship of the physical and vacuous, perhaps about the complexity of familial and romantic relationships...) but is above all, a beautifully written (I love the slow crows and thin geese), right rollicking adventure through poverty to wealth and back again, from Ireland to Venice and back again. 

If Christmas is starting to take up all your time, and you need a book that will transport you from mundane everyday nonsense without feeling like you are feasting on cotton wool, this is perfect. Enjoy.

Lulu, At night - my little lamp - and book November 2014

The Book of Human Skin caught this review from Threadbare Beauty

Transported me in time and space to an unfamiliar world where brothers are very very mean to sisters. In this patriarchal place, the female protagonist has to do her utmost to survive her brother’s bizarre tastes. This book is kind of like a Cronenberg flick….you hate to read the gruesome details, and you just can’t put it down.


New writing

Michelle posted some Thoughts on Monstrosity - on the History Girls website for October 10th.

On November 10th she was called away to a family emergency and her place was kindly taken by Sarah Gristwood blogging about the redoubtable Ellen Wilkinson

Michelle’s next History Girls blog will be on December 10th.


Venice News

Artist Christine Morley has created an extraordinary mural for the 'Upupa' restaurant/pizzeria/bar in Campo del Ghetto Nuovo in Venice. The mural shows local characters from centuries past interacting with modern Venetians.

Mural by Chirstine Morley

Upupa - Venezia and


Venice events


December books

Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist
Sophie Hannah, Kind of Cruel
Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others
Anna Funder, All That I Am
Jo Nesbo, Cockroaches















Harristown Sisters













































Undrowned Child



How to Abuse, Insult & Insinuate in Classical Latin






















Digging Up Paradise


October & November 2014

Book news

St George and the Dragon

Michelle Lovric is honoured to be appointed a Companion of the Guild of St George, established by the art historian and polymath John Ruskin in the 1870s. The Guild’s history, current projects and aims are described here. She hopes to take an active part in this wonderful organisation, and to make use of her writing and teaching skills, and her knowledge of Venice, for the benefit of the Guild.

Ruskin made this pencil and sepia sketch in 1870s -1, while studying the paintings of Vittore Carpaccio in the Scuola Dalmata in Venice.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


American reviews continue for the newly published American edition of The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.


‘Their tale is just as scandalous as a contemporary Hollywood tell-all, but with the delicious villains, mysteries and grisly deaths of a 19th-century penny dreadful. Plus, it’s beautifully told, with a keen sense of the era and its locals plaited deftly into the drama.’’

Meredith Grahl Counts, BUST magazine August/September 2014


Morgan Ribera at Bustle named it as one of August 2014's Best Books:

Michelle Lovric’s latest novel is a story all about hair — specifically long, cascading, floor-length hair. It stars the seven Harristown Sisters, all of whom have decadent heads of hair each in a different vivid shade. Impoverished, fatherless, and coming of age in the mid-1800s in a rural Ireland still suffering in the aftermath of the Great Famine, these seven sisters decide to use their flourishing follicles to change their luck, but with personalities as different as the color of their locks, their heads are bound to butt. 

Together they become a talented, traveling celebrity septet, singing, jigging, and flashing their gorgeous, Rapunzel-like gifts to the delight of international admirers. From the dancehalls of Ireland to the lavish stages of Venice, their act will send them on a rollercoaster of wealth and fame, but these sisters will have to overcome their own differences and jealousies too in order to defend themselves against exploitation and obsession.

Rich with historic detail and inspired by the true story, Lovric’s imaginative new novel is an enchanting read, filled with adventure alongside lessons about glory, loss, and deceit, about financial hardship, sibling rivalry, and the consequences of celebrity. “


When Women Talks website named it as one of the seven best books published so far this year: “This is perfect for fans of historical fiction. Loosely based on a true story, it follows the lives of seven sisters with extraordinarily long hair, hair that leads them out of their poor existence in rural Ireland to the stage, riches and a palazzo in Venice. As well as being a great story, it also asks wider questions about female sexuality and experience, questions that are as relevant now as they were when this book was set.”


Mirella Patzer at The Historical Novel Review blogspot praised it:

‘It is a rags to riches to rags story that I found myself completely absorbed by. Each of the sisters was depicted with plenty of faults and qualities, which added to my interest in this fascinating tale. It is a roller coaster ride that takes the reader to joy, love, despair, and tragedy. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to book clubs as there is an avalanche of material that will lead to many a lively discussion. A lovely look into the odd and unusual lives of these fascinating women.’

Historical Novel Review blogspot September 3 2014


Combining magical realism, just a hint of fairy tale lore and the real emotions of a group of sisters coming of age, Michelle Lovric’s The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters is a delightful, if sometimes dark, tale of love, family and loyalties … … It’s a funny fairy tale, with hints of Rushdie’s magic peeking through a mainly realistic prose and nods to the legacy and legend of Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude …and, if nothing else, exemplifies the perfect way to mix fairy tales and lore with the harsh realities of a nation’s, family’s and culture’s truths.

Corduroy Books August 19th 2014


Lovric does a marvelous job emulating the rhythm and slang of the Irish language, making The Harristown Sisters raucous reading. What begins as plausible fiction moves through operatic highs and lows and a fair bit of magical realism (Darcy’s physicality begins to mirror her black soul) before the novel winds down. Seven sisters and a career spanning decades is a lot of territory to cover but with Lovric’s imaginative touches, The Harristown Sisters is a lively Irish tale.’

The Gilmore Guide to Books, September 12th 2014


Back in the United Kingdom, reviews are still coming too:

I want to mention the excellent descriptive writing in this book. Every time Manticory thinks of her childhood in Harristown, County Kildare, she remembers the ‘turf stoves, thin geese and slow crows’ until Harristown becomes almost a character in itself. Later in the book, the descriptions of Venice are particularly beautiful…

The palazzi and churches let their fretted stones hang down into our faces like beautiful, insistent ghosts. Beckoning lanterns hung at arched water-gates. Inside their houses, equisitely dressed Venetians displayed themselves in glowing tableaux so that each palace seemed to host a puppet theatre performing just for us. The city was mystical and barbaric all at once, a floating fortress so delicate that the fairies would hesitate to place the weight of their wings on it.

I also loved the images of the girls hanging their hair from the windows of the bell tower of San Vidal like seven Rapunzels and each of them standing in the bow of a gondola with her hair trailing into the boat behind. I could tell this book was written by someone who knows and loves Venice.”

Helen at She Reads Novels August 13th 2014


The Undrowned Child has received a lovely review as well:

A wonderfully surreal and at time subversive romp through a Victorian Venice awash with saucy-tongued mermaids, green poisonous icecream, malevolent seagulls and beetles, lurid pirates, shapeshifting cats and a hideous cannibalistic butcher, who carries his head under his arm in what could be a nod (pun intended) to Washington Irving. Teo is endearingly bookish, her friend Renzo is slight, scholarly and ultimately gallant, whilst the haughty, sometimes flirtatious mermaids are good fun. On a quest to stop the legendary historical traitor Bajamonte Tiepolo (try saying that when you’ve had a few ginger beers), Teo and Renzo hurry down the backstreets of a half-imaginary, half-real Venice, clutching a magical book that helps them at every turn. On the way they encounter mythical apothecaries stocking ‘Venetian Treacle’, plague-ridden children and sinister sculptures. All the while Bajamonte grows in strength, and threatens to have his bloody revenge on Venice once and for all…

All in all, I loved this book, and could hardly put it down! A rollicking, rambunctious read full of the salty tang of a Venice both real and wonderfully imagined. (And the mermaids are delightful.)

Overall rating: Whimsical, wonderful and at times highly inventive, Lovric has proven to me that she’s a writer to watch out for.

Eleanor Keane, The Breathing Ghosts, August 20th 2014


And How to Abuse, Insult & Insinuate in Classical Latin by Michelle Lovric and Nikiforos Doxiadis is highlighted at History of the Ancient World, which chooses the top ten insults from ancient Rome from it.


Venice News

There’s a really excellent video here about how Venice works backstage, explaining the construction of the city and the problems she faces now.


George Clooney married in Venice on September 27th and his chosen hotel for his reception party was the Aman, aka the Palazzo Papadopoli, the Venetian setting of The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.


A conference about water-cures in Venice is to be led by Nelli Elena Vanzan-Marchini.


Corso di Storia della Sanità 2014




lunedì 6 ottobre 2014 Aula Magna ore 17,30

introduce Erilde Terenzoni

Venezia e il termalismo europeo: una storia di bagni e di cure

conferenza con immagini

di Nelli Vanzan Marchini


WELLINGTON BOOKS, the English language bookshop in Venice, has just started a crowd-funding campaign.

Here is what they say:

‘The results of our (nearly) first year of activity are good and encouraging yet Italian bureaucracy is giving us some problems - we have been waiting for ages for special funds for young entrepreneurs which are still on their way…

For this reason we decided to start this campaign, just to be sure that we can strongly go on for another year even without the help of the Italian State. 

We are not expecting to become rich, whatever we collect will be invested in the shop, as many other small bookstores have already done around the world.

If you are already a client of Wellington BooKs or if you don't fancy donating or if you don't like these crowdfunding initiatives that's fine - we will be very grateful if you could just SHARE this thing with your friends.

Here is the link to the campaign:


New writing

Michelle contributed to the History Girls blog on August 10th a list of murder weapons she has deployed in Venice

And on September 10th, she wrote about the ferocious patere that dot the walls of Venetian palaces, in a blog entitled What’s Biting Venice?

Her next post on the History Girls’ blog is October 10th.

She also contributed to Writers Read blog with a list of her recent reading and thoughts on it.

And she is preparing an interview with Society19 about The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters


October & November books

Sarah Salway, Digging Up Paradise: Potatoes, People and Poetry in the Garden of England
Donatella Calabi, Foreigners and the City: An Historiographical Exploration for the Early Modern Period
Walpole Gallery, The Settecento in Venice
A.F.L. Beeston, Arabic historical phraseology
Izkiwī, Sarhān ibn Sa'īd.: Annals of Oman to 1728 / Sirhan ibn Sa'id ibn Sirhan; translated and annotated by E.C. Ross ; newly introduced by Philip Ward.
Ahmed Hamoud Maamiry, Omani-Portuguese history
Edward William Lane, Arabian society in the middle ages: studies from the Thousand and One Nights
Jennifer Heath, editor, The veil: women writers on its history, lore, and politics.
Jeremy Strong, editor, Educated tastes: food, drink, and connoisseur culture
Irwin Eyles, A series of adventures in the course of a voyage up the Red-Sea on the coasts of Arabia and Egypt : and of a route through the desarts of Thebais, in the year 1777 : with a supplement of a voyage from Venice to Latichea : and of a route through the desarts of Arabia, by Aleppo, Bagdad, and the Tygris to Busrah, in the years 1780 and 1781
Thorkild Hansen, Arabia Felix: the Danish expedition of 1761-1767
Shepherd, Gordon M, Neurogastronomy: how the brain creates flavor and why it matters
Celia Rothenberg, Spirits of Palestine: gender, society, and the stories of the jinn.
John G. Gager, editor, Curse tablets and binding spells from the ancient world
C.M. Woolgar, The senses in late medieval England
Ennio Concina, Fondaci : architettura, arte, e mercatura tra Levante, Venezia, e Alemagna

Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters

August & September 2014

Book news

Reviews continue to come in for The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, including this one from in the USA, where it is published this month.

“How do seven impoverished, fatherless sisters from rural Ireland with only middling artistic talents rise to notoriety? Darcy, the leader of the tribe, bullies her sisters into taking to the dance halls of their famine-stricken hometown, with hopes of striking it big. At the end of each show, the girls turn their backs to the audience and let down their hair, which cascades, unfettered, to their ankles. They soon become a hit act. "Our hair had its roots inside us, but it was outside as well," says Manticory, the lone redheaded sister and our narrator. "In that slippage between our inner and outer selves—there lurked our seven scintillating destinies and all our troubles besides." The novel is loosely based on a true-life group of American sisters who leveraged their hair to fame and fortune, and is cleverly set during a period when the Pre-Raphaelite style signified romance and freedom. Each of the seven sisters—insult-spitting Darcy, sweet Edna, tender Oona, wicked Berenice, plain Pertilly, spirited Ida, keen-eyed Manticory—will experience heartbreak and violence, even as their stars rise. Read this for the story, which is wildly compelling, and also for the prose, as magnetic as the sisters themselves.”

National Geographic listed The Harristown Sisters at top of the Ultimate Summer TripLit Reading List for novels that ‘take you there’:“Hair! The Swiney siblings have a lot of it in this fascinatingly odd tale, inspired by real-life sisters who gain fame and fortune for their ankle-length tresses in famine-plagued, Pre-Raphaelite-era Ireland.”

Amy Alipio, National Geographic, July 14th 2014

More reviews for the UK edition:

“Vividly descriptive, it’s an extraordinary book …”

Choice Magazine, July 1st 2014

“The fifth novel from Michelle Lovric – writer of The Remedy – is lined with a penetrating melancholic beauty.”

The Western Daily Press, June 28th 2014

Sunday Times reviewer Nick Rennison felt that the book was at times over-written but concluded that it “has a swagger and style that make it an enjoyable read.”

The Sunday Times June 29th 2014

Meanwhile, The Independent on Sunday named The Harristown Sisters as one of the best books of the year, in an alternative Man Booker List. Literary editor Katy Guest put the novel in the category of

The Anne Enright award for the Irish novel most guaranteed to make you cry

Niall Williams wins this year's award on the strength of his title alone. History of the Rain (Bloomsbury) is described as a "rain-sodden history of 14 acres of the worst farming land in Ireland" but inevitably, given its author, it is suffused with warmth and humour.

As is The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, by Michelle Lovric (Bloomsbury), about seven Irish sisters in the mid-1800s, all of whom have extravagant, Pre-Raphaelite hair …”

The book was a Summer Holiday Pick for Annabel, one of the editors of Shiny New Books: “Michelle Lovric’s evocative prose weaves an addictive tale of unhinged sisters, celebrity, greed and, yes, hair in The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters

‘Lovric puts her battling and embattled Swiney sisters into smaller and smaller corners, turning their tale into a full blown tragedy before it's all over. The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters is a dark tale, full of betrayal and unscrupulousness and pure creepiness. But I had a fantastic time reading it. Lovric's characters are so well-developed. Her plot overturns so many narrative conventions that I read with my iPad plugged into the wall for a few hours because I was running out of juice and I couldn't bear to leave off while it charged. I had to know what happened next. This is a brilliant, challenging novel.’

Annie Smith at The Summer Reading Project

Michelle Lovric’s delightful novel, narrated by Manticory, follows the Swiney Godivas from Harristown to Dublin to Venice. I loved the descriptions of the Swiney Godivas’ shows, in which they re-enact fairy-tales, myths and biblical tales, form tableaux of famous works of art like Botticelli’s Venus and plunder the works of Dickens, Thackeray and even Shakespeare for ‘hairy’ scenes and heroines for ‘tribute’ acts. The theatrical scenes are spiced by the sisters’ animosity towards each other, the surreptitious pinching and shoving, the whispers of ‘brown bitch heifer’ through the staged smiles”

Helen Parry at Shiny New Books

Michelle Lovric was interviewed about the book by Sean Rocks for RTE’s Arena programme on July 1st and by Jenni Murray for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on July 24th.

With Lucy Coats, Michelle Lovric will be teaching a Guardian Master class on How to Write for Children on September 20th. There are further sessions planned for October and November.

Saturday 20 September 2014
Click here to book

Wednesday 22 October 2014
Click here to book

Saturday 22 November 2014
Click here to book


New writing

Michelle posted an interview with Simon Chaplin about the Wellcome Trust’s extraordinary image library on the History Girls on July 10th.

Her next post on the History Girls will be August 10th.

Her article about Medusa Myths appeared on Bookanista on July 5th


August & September books

Karen Joy Fowler, We All Completely Beside Ourselves
Colum McCann, Transatlantic
Matthew Crow, In Bloom
Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project
Sally Green, Half Bad
Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes To the Woods
Andrei Makine, Human Love

Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters at the gated garden

Harristown Sisters in the Gated Garden at London’s Borough Market

Harristown Sisters by the celtic sea by Meredith Crosbie

photograph by Meredith Crosbie

Harristown Bridge

In Bruges

July 2014

Book news

Reviews have been coming in for The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, published on June 5th by Bloomsbury in the UK. The American edition will be published in August.

It was the lead fiction review in The Times on Saturday June 7th

“This is story to sweep you up and spin you about like a mad Irish jig. It swirls you away amid giddy torrents of language into a fantastical, sensual, yet villainously comic world …

Lovric relishes language. You almost taste the words that twist round your tongue and burst open on your lips. Here are slanging matches in which curses are pelted like fistfuls of slime. Here are eddies of adjectives. Here are descriptions to reinvigorate even the most mundane scenes.

Perhaps it is the rain forever scribbling on our roofs and our faces that teaches the Irish our unstinting verbosity,” says the auburn haired narrator Manticory. “ It’s what we have instead of food of luck. Think of it as a generosity of syllables, a wishful giving of words when we have nothing else to offer by way of hospitality: we lay great mouthfuls of language on you to round your bellies and comfort your thoughts like so many boileds and roasts.

… the dark Freudian undercurrents of the fairytale are updated to deal with contemporary themes, among them the objectification of women and the right to privacy. As the compulsive power of her narrative increasingly overcomes the plangent mazes of her description, the reader finally realises that they are in the irresistible hands of a storyteller who portrays not just her period but human nature too.”

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times, June 7th 2014

“Lovric’s tale is lush with delightful Irish rhythms and memorable characters.”

Kirkus June 5th 2014

“The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters is a book permeated by a malignant sadness. Lewis Wolpert coined the phrase in his 1999 book Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression. If not technically applicable, the phrase definitely captures the underlying mood of this novel. Joy and anything approaching happiness are only very sparsely, and sometimes perversely, peppered throughout the novel. The melancholic expression of the red-haired girl on the front cover should have given me a clue. Yet, not far from her face are those words ‘true and splendid’ — and thus the peculiar beauty of this novel is expressed: in her delineation of destitution, fame and death, Michelle Lovric writes a truly splendid novel.”

The Cover Co June 12 2014

“Michelle Lovric’s darkly lively vocabulary and fantastical storytelling makes me feel I could tumble down a rabbit hole into another, not entirely nice, world. The Harristown Sisters is the tale of seven Irish siblings, heart-breakingly poor but all with a gift valued by the Pre-Raphaelite age they live in: extraordinarily long flowing hair. And so they are whisked away into dubious society and dangerous fame. Just love her humour and magical flamboyance.”

Kerry Fowler, Sainsbury’s Magazine, July 2014

“Sometimes, all you want from a book is fabulous escapism, a rich and detailed plot, unusual and memorable characters, larger than life but oddly real, a bit of a saga, a bit of a fantasy, a dash of historical realism, an edge of melodramatic soap opera, all tied up with excellent writing and a cracking pace.

Look no further, friends!

I’ve found this season’s pacy but gothic, horrifying but enthralling, joyful and mournful, grubby, edifying, modern but ‘olden days’ read. Michelle Lovric, The award-winning writer of The Book  of Human Skin, has crafted something really beautiful and unusual in True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.”

UBS Review of Books June 17th 2014

“… if you aren't nail-chewing within moments of the deliciously elongated climax starting to build, you have no nails to start with.”

Ani Johnson, The Bookbag, June 6, 2014

“I was a Michelle Lovric fan from the moment I started reading ‘The Book of Human Skin’. Amazing book that lives with me still – years after I first read it! So when I saw this book, I had to read it.

Was I disappointed? Not at all. The Swiney Godivas are quite simply wonderful …”

S.J. Bradford’s Book Blog June 4th 2014

Image Magazine in Ireland chose The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters as its book of the month, describing it as “an addictively subversive page-turner.”

“Michelle Lovric’s The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters is a book which almost appropriates the adjective ‘fecund’ to itself by way of description, so much does its language teem with rich, sappy, loamy, fruitfulness, even to a glorious abandon of excess …

This is a Gothic, operatic book by virtue of the intensity of feeling and opulence, sumptuousness of language, the reaching of heights of ecstasy, the plummeting the darkness of jealousy, violence, betrayal and murder. But the whole is delivered with such vivacity, such joyousness and juicy humour and playfulness of language that it becomes a wild, frolicsome read, despite the savage undercurrents.

And lest the term ‘Gothic’ should fret potential readers who might fear the pages may romp with werewolves vampires zombies and such other silly company – fear not, the ‘Gothic’ relates to the architecture of the language, full of delicious crenellations and furbelows. There ARE monsters within these pages, and they are all of a very human kind, with no need for the agency of magic.”

Lady Fancifull June 6 2014

“My book of the year to date. It took my breath away ….”

Fleur in her World, June 10 2014

The book’s rollicking, earthy voice evokes 19th-century Ireland with gusto, and Lovric brings the sisters and their tangled relationships to life as they come full circle to confront the poverty and losses from their past.”

Publishers Weekly, USA, June 10 2014

From the very beginning Lovric’s use of language is as colourful as her story; her descriptions of Venice and its palazzos are particularly lovely. Manticory’s voice is vibrant, intelligent, endearing and, at times, very funny … It’s a thoroughly entertaining tale in which love, lust, tragedy, comedy and revenge all play their part, and it ends very satisfyingly.

A Life in Books, June 22nd 2014

In Harper’s Bazaar July issue, Sam Baker named The Harristown Sisters as one of her top ten reads for the summer:

“An admission: I adored Michele Lovric’s macabre, Orange long-listed The Book of Human Skin. A second admission, I have a lot of red hair. These two things combined, I was always going to love The Harristown Sisters - singing, dancing septuplets who social-climb their way from poverty-stricken Dublin to Pre-Raphaelite Venice on the back of their auburn locks. But, as with the fairytale spirit Lovric so successfully conjures, nothing comes without a price.”

There’s a string of interesting reviews on Goodreads too.


New writing

Michelle Lovric has posted a blog about a research trip to Ireland on The History Girls on June 10th (following her interview on the same site with Mary Hoffman)

Her next blog for The History Girls will be July 10th.

She posted on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on June 11th about being caught in flagrante by an eminent publisher

Her piece on five literary landmarks in Venice was published on Wanderlust June 14th. These included the newly reopened medical museum at SS Giovanni e Paolo and the home of Pietro Aretino.

And her interview with Pam Johnson on Words Unlimited on June 16th discussed the ways in which she researches, organises and structures her work, certain regrets about giving up her work as a packager of designed books and the way in which she writes some novel scenes as poetry before smoothing them into prose.

On Electric Sheep, Michelle Lovric posted on why she identifies with a philistine, impotent, Irish child-killer from the movie In Bruges.

Bookanista will feature an article she has written about hair and sex in the nineteenth century

Bookings are now open for the September 20th Guardian Masterclass on How to Write for Children with Lucy Coats and Michelle Lovric.


July books

Joanne Harris, Gentlemen and Players
Sophie Hannah, The Carrier
Jan Morris, Sultan in Oman
Simon Rich, The Last Girlfriend on Earth
Hilda Sheehan, The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
Bela Grunberger, New Essays on Narcissism
Nina W. Brown, The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern
Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement
Zari Ballard, When Love Is a Lie: Narcissistic Partners & the Pathological Relationship Agenda
John S. Ogrodniczuk Understanding and Treating Pathological Narcissism

Harristown Sisters

You magazine

Deidre Kelly Wonder Atlas

The Undrowned Child


June 2014

Book news

The True & Splendid History of The Harristown Sisters is published on June 5th by Bloomsbury in the UK. It comes out in August with Bloomsbury in the USA.

The publishers have created a wonderful Pinterest board about long hair and literature, to celebrate publication.

Some advance reviews

This is the riotous and true (!) tale of seven 19th-century sisters, who, with their help of their luscious long red locks, rose out of poverty in rural Ireland to become famous performers. Hooked from page one!

Company, June 2014

Lovric takes a little known piece of history and breathes it into full and colorful life. Impossible to put down.



New writing

On the History Girls, May 10th, Michelle Lovric posted a personal essay about Julia Pastrana, the woman with hair where hair should not be, and consequently one of the most celebrated freaks of the hair-obsessed Victorian age.

Author and wine-journalist Patricia Guy has hosted a photo-essay by her dog Stanley about accompanying Michelle Lovric on a writerly walk around Venice.

On May 25th, You Magazine, in The Mail on Sunday, published a feature by Michelle Lovric on the phenomenon of the Seven Sutherland Sisters, who took America by storm with their 37 feet of hair and their million-selling hair products. The Sutherlands are the inspiration behind The Harristown Sisters.

Michelle’s next History Girls post will be on June 10th. She will be writing about a shockingly poignant research trip to Ireland to hunt down a habitat for the Swiney Godivas, the singing and dancing siblings who are the protagonists of The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.

She is interviewed by Mary Hoffman for the History Girls site on June 1.

Big Blog

She’ll also be guest blogging on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on June 11th, about the embarrassment of being caught in flagrante delicto by an eminent publisher in a Venetian palazzo. ABBA was recently named number 2 in the top 10 list of literary blogs.

The June diary for English Writers in Italy is an essay by Michelle Lovric on a piece of floating history in Venice.

She has written a piece on Five Literary Landmarks in Venice for Wanderlust, to be published on June 7th

Meanwhile the excellent Venetian blogger Erla Zwingle has recorded the passing of Signor Baiamonte Tiepolo. His long-ago ancestor is the villain of Michelle Lovric’s first two books for children, The Undrowned Child and The Mourning Emporium.


June books

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Alessandro Marzo Magno, Bound in Venice
Edward St Aubyn, Lost for Words
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
Ann Weisgarber, The Promise
Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret

Harristown Sisters

The Undrowned Child

City Runner by Deidre Kelly

Deidre Kelly Wonder Atlas

Venice Preserved

The Heroes' Welcome


May 2014


Book news

The Goodreads website has the first full review of The Harristown Sisters.

Here is an extract:

This book is a delight from page one. And nothing has ever made me want to visit Ireland so much as this book did. That's not a burn against Ireland. But there was such a vividness of description, that smell, language, dialect, culture, history, legend, lore leaped off the page at me. The story of seven sisters, their abundance of hair, and the trials and tribulations that come as a result of this could have been the stuff of fluffy lightweight melodrama.

But I do not exaggerate when I say that nothing I have read in contemporaneous fiction, comes as close to resembling a Bronte novel as this one does. I'm not going to say which Bronte as we all have our favourites and dislikes and I'm not planning on prejudicing you one way or the other. The fact that there were seven sisters alone who formed the core of the novel's characters presents challenges in differentiation, but each sister was such a personality and had such a unique voice.

I was constantly on the verge of weeping at how beautiful a grasp of language Michelle Lovric has. This book could have been written in the 19th century. Every sentence and paragraph feels carefully thought through but not at the expense of pushing the narrative forward. Turns of phrase stopped me in my tracks and had to be re-read. This isn't a case of style over substance. There is a complete harmony at work here. … If you're someone like me who laments that they don't write them like they used to, do yourself a favour and read this book.

Review by Anton, April 4th 2014


Essie Fox has published a review of The Book of Human Skin on her blog about writing.

I adore Michelle Lovric's writing style which is magical, flamboyant and entirely assured. Her YA novels are also a delight - if only we'd had them when I was a child! However The Book of Human Skin is decidedly not a children's read. It is fiercely dark and subversive, though not without great humour. 

The central story is that of a Marcella, a young girl who is locked away in a convent when her brother, Minguillo (mesmerising and charismatic, but horribly evil too) begins his narration with the words 'This is going to be a little uncomfortable'. Indeed it is! And Marcella's suffering at his hands is narrated from the extravagant viewpoint of no less than five individuals who (apart from creating a sense of awe that any writer could pull that off) knit together a complex scheme of events that lead to a thrilling conclusion.

I particularly enjoyed this novel because the quite sinister convent scenes are set in Santa Catalina, in the Peruvian city of Arequipa, a convent which I have also toured, and found it to be an inspiring place with a melancholy, haunting air. I always thought I would like to set a novel of my own in that place. But having read Michelle's Lovric's work I couldn't even begin to compete. Delightful, horrific and riotous. A truly entertaining read.

(And while we are on the subject, should you enjoy this novel, Michelle Lovric's The Remedy is another based upon the convent theme.)

Review by Essie Fox, DO YOU DO THE WRITE THING? blog, April 1st 2014.

Essie’s atmospheric and lush Victorian novels, The Somnabulist, Elijah’s Mermaid and The Goddess and the Thief are published by Orion. She blogs as The Virtual Victorian, and her clever website is here.


Darren Hartwell at BOOKZONE (FOR BOYS) has written a heartfelt blog about the current media furore about gendering of the children’s book market. He cited Teo Gasperin, female protagonist of The Undrowned Child, as a character who could appeal to both boy and girl readers:

Michelle Lovric is not only one of my all time favourite writers of Middle Grade fantasy, she also writes fantastic female protagonists. Teo in The Undrowned Child, and its sequel The Mourning Emporium, is up there with Alice in my mind, but Talina (Talina in the Tower) and Amneris and Biri (The Fate in the Box) are almost as great.



Exhibition in Venice:



22 May - 14 June 2014


Opening: 22 May 2014, 6-8pm

Impossible landscapes, routes and directions emerge from Deirdre Kelly’s 'altered' maps which are certainly ‘not to be used for navigation’.

Maps are tools that provide the means by which we both organize and locate ourselves within a continually changing world. Déirdre Kelly manipulates cartography to create her own personalised maps. Standing before these map collages, the viewer is both ‘found’ and ‘displaced’ in relation to pictorial worlds, as the overarching spatial rules collide with the particulars represented.

From palimpsest to hypertext: artists have literally and conceptually been ‘mapping’ the world, looking at the familiar in different ways, as new technologies have replaced the magical world of wonder encapsulated in hand-drawn maps and atlases of the past.

‘My map is my mirror’, Déirdre Kelly describes her infinite map, reminding us of the human need and a desire for physical maps, now more than ever.


Déirdre Kelly, born in London, lives and works in Venice, Italy.

Kelly has been exhibiting since 1985, her works can be found in many private and public collections including: Museum of Modern Art Library, New York; Tate Gallery Library, London; Reuters Ltd and Sedgewick Group International.


Scuola Internazionale di Grafica
Cannaregio 1798, Venezia 30121
+39-041-721-950 • fax +39-041-524-2374


An unusual production of Thomas Otway’s classic Restoration play, Venice Preserv’d, is to be performed by the Spectators’ Guild in Greenwich this Spring.

See details here:


New writing

Michelle posted her second essay about Venice on the eve of World War One on The History Girls, April 10th

She will be writing the June diary piece for English Writers in Italy and a posting for An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on June 11th.

Her next History Girls blog will on May 10th.


May books

Elizabeth Hand, Mortal Love
Phyllis Grosskurth, ed, The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds
Derek Humphry, Final Exit
C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, The History of Underclothes
Alison Luchs, ed, Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture
Peace, Psychopath Free
A.B. Admin, Psychopaths and Love
NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names

Louisa Young, The Heroes' Welcome, the sequel to the History Girl's acclaimed best-seller My Dear I wanted to Tell You, and just as sensitive, moving and beautifully written.



Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters


April 2014


Book news

In an early review of the American edition of The True & Splendid History of The Harristown Sisters. Karen Frank writes:

If the Swiney sisters were with us today they would be the stars of a reality show which would blow the Kardashians out of the water. Lovric bases her novel on an actual American sister act and resets the events in post famine Ireland. From starvation to world acclaim these sisters use their amazingly long and luxurious hair to rise to the heights as an entertainment sensation while falling victim to an unscrupulous 19th century marketing scheme. Alternately dark and delightful the story is a Gothic feast with plenty of meat.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, has written: 'Michelle Lovric is devilishly clever, fiendishly comic and generally just an irresistible novelist. I delighted in every page.'


An extra date has been added to the Guardian Masterclasses How to Write for Children, which Michelle Lovric teaches with Lucy Coats. The following dates are now confirmed:

April 5th

May 7th

May 31st

To book, contact the Guardian


New writing

In her art of writing blog, Lisa Clifford interviewed Michelle Lovric about how food can be used in plot and character development. The interview can be seen here.

Michelle posted a piece on Venice on the eve of World War One The History Girls blog on March 10th.

She will continue that essay in her History Girls blog on April 10th.


April books

Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling
Drew Keys, Narcissists Exposed
Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands
Brian Dillon, Tormented Hope



Harristown Sisters

Deidre Kelly Wonder Atlas

March 2014

Goodreads has a giveaway offer for The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, to be published on June 5th, by Bloomsbury.


New writing

Michelle posted a piece on The History Girls on February 10th about a letter of passage for two milk-fed zebras. Her next History Girls blog will be on March 10th.

A new course on food-writing in Tuscany

Taste Every Word


Venice News

Venetian collage artist Deirdre Kelly features in a new exhibition in London


Contemporary Collage & Photomontage

CHART gallery, 62 Old Church Street, London SW3 6DP 
Open Wed to Sat: 12 - 6pm; Sun: 12 - 4pm / 020 7323 1109



March books

Kate Atkinson, Life after Life
Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall
Erik Larson, The Devil in White City
Edizioni Kina, Syracuse City of Art and Ancient History




February 2014

Michelle posted a blog about the Feast of the Epiphany in Venice on the History Girls website on January 10th.

Her next posting there will be on February 10th.


February books

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
Mira Crouch, Almost Home, a memoir of migration
Jonathan Roper, ed, Charms, Charmers and Charming
Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Sugar Island Slavery in the Age of Enlightenment.
Laurence Alma Tadema, The Crucifix, a Venetian Phantasy
James Endell Tyler, Oaths; their origin, nature and history
F.O. Shyllon, Black Slaves in Britain
Eleanor Farjeon, The Fair Venetian
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, History of My Life, Vol 1
Michael Hulse, Half-life
Elisabetta Caminer Turra, Selected Writings of an Eighteenth-Century Venetian Woman of Letters

Harristown Sisters

Lucy Coates


January 2014

A welcome to the Harristown Sisters …

WE LOVE THIS BOOK asked ten of its favourite bloggers to nominate the books they are most eagerly anticipating in 2014.

Fleur Fisher chose The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, saying, “I have loved Michelle Lovric’s dark, rich, historical novels, and, after travelling to Venice and to Latin America with her, I am so excited to discover the stories she will tell and the pictures she will paint of 19th-century Ireland, in the wonderfully titled The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters.”

Fleur Fisher from Fleur in her World. Follow Jane on Twitter @fleurinherworld

The first three Guardian Masterclasses on Writing for Children, taught by Lucy Coats and Michelle Lovric, have sold out and so new dates are planned for April and May 2014, with a whole weekend in February:

Lucy Coats blogged about the teaching experience on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

New writing

Michelle posted a blog about seeing a Canaletto painting from a unique perspective for the History Girls, December 10th, 2013.

Her next History Girls blog is scheduled for January 10th.

Venice News

English Pantomime in Venice
With extravagant costumes, great music, and audience participation, it's great fun for both kids and adults, whether one speaks English well or not!
Free to the public!
Donations will be collected at the end of the performances to benefit the non-profit organisation La Gabbianella, which is dedicated to providing the warmth of a family to the young children living with their mothers in the female prison on the Giudecca island in Venice.
Teatro a L'Avogaria
Dorsoduro 1617, Calle Lunga San Barnaba
Thursday, January 16 at 7:30 pm
Friday, January 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, January 18 at 3:30 pm
Bookings are obligatory
Seating is limited
To book, please email with the date and time of the performance, and the number of seats requested. A confirmation email will sent to you. Or, telephone us at 348 5150212.
To keep up-to-date on Pantomime news go to Facebook "Panto Venezia", follow us on Twitter at "Panto Venice".

January books

Tiziano Scarpa, Laguna l’invidiosa
Peter Hoeg The Elephant Keepers’ Children
Lucy Inglis, Georgian London, Into the Streets

Venezia Città di Lettori

Crocodiles of Venice

Tales on Moon Lane

December 2013

Please note that the January news will be posted a few days later than usual.

Apologies to Tracey Robertson for rendering her speechless, but also thanks for an interesting review of The Book of Human Skin on The Book and Booze Club website:
It begins:  "This is going to be a little uncomfortable".  
One hundred and thirty-seven pages in and it is screwing up my real life.  Darn that hideous, hazy state when life drags you from a disturbing read and places you in the company of others feeling disconnected and tongue tied.
This book might actually be rendering me speechless.
I must finish reading it so that I might, once again, function in life like a normal  (relatively), fully engaged (partially) human being.


New writing

Michelle was planning a post about her experience of filming with Michael Portillo on one of his Great Railway Journeys on History Girls website for November 10th but computer problems meant she missed her slot. (Instead, there is an excellent post by Elizabeth Laird about literary travellers).

Her next History Girls blog will be on December 10th.

Her essay (in Italian) on using Baiamonte Tiepolo as a villain in her children’s books has been published in La congiura imperfetta di Baiamonte Tiepolo, edited by Nelli-Elena Vanzan Marchini. The book records the proceedings of two conferences held in 2010 to mark the 700th anniversary of the failed conspiracy to murder Doge Pietro Gradenigo and set up a new government in Venice.


Venice News

The Venezia Città di Lettori campaign to save the bookshops of La Serenissima has continued with a new initiative on November 30th.

Well-known Venetian authors served as booksellers for a day in the city’s surviving bookshops:
gruppo Facebook 

Cafoscarina Michela Scibilia [mattino], Alberto Fiorin [pomeriggio]
Don Chisciotte Fabio Amadi [mattino], Marco Crestani [pomeriggio]
Giunti Sant’Aponal Davide Busato [mattino], Michela Scibilia [pomeriggio]
Giunti Strada Nova Andrea Molesini [mattino], Davide Busato [pomeriggio]
Marco Polo Tiziano Scarpa [10–11], Fulvio Ervas [11–13], Anna Toscano [pomeriggio]
Mare di Carta Cristiano Dorigo [mattino], Paolo Ganz [pomeriggio]
Miracoli Marco Crestani [mattino], Paola Zoffoli [pomeriggio]
Punto Einaudi Tiziano Scarpa [11.30–13], Tiziana Plebani [pomeriggio]
Studium Alessandro Marzo Magno [mattino], Cristina Gregorin [pomeriggio]
Toletta Paola Zoffoli [mattino], Alberto Toso Fei [pomeriggio]
Ulisse & Co Alberto Fiorin [mattino], Elisabetta Tiveron [pomeriggio] 
Wellington BooKs Robin Saikia [mattino], Carla Toffolo [pomeriggio]

In a strange echo of the events of Michelle Lovric’s novel, The Fate in the Box, a new happening has been taking place in Venice since November 6th. Spot the similarities in the cover of The Fate in the Box, and the promotional poster for Crocodiles of Venice on the left.

The show takes place every Wednesday evening from 6pm at F30, one minute from Piazzale Roma and a few feet from the Calatrava Bridge.
A taste of the show can be seen in this video on Youtube


December books

Booklovers will be delighted to hear that Tales on Moon Lane has reopened looking more beautiful than ever, after the flood that closed the bookshop in the summer.
Jacob Tomsky, Heads on Beds
Colm Toibin, Testament of Mary
Helen Dunmore, The Love of Fat Men
Ned Beauman, Boxer Beetle
Ed Sean Lawlor and John Pilling, The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett


Michael Portillo

November 2013

Michelle Lovric is interviewed by Michael Portillo in the Great Continental Railway Journeys episode on BBC2 at 8pm on November 3rd.


Venice News

The 2014 Venice Pantomime, entitled Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack e i Fagioli Magici) will be held at the Teatro a L'Avogaria January 16, 17 and 18. Bookings will be taking bookings for seats in December and January.

Conference on the Lazzaretto Vecchio and the Ospedale Civile in Venice

Le conferenze-dibattito si terranno all'Ateneo Veneto:

il 22 ottobre alle ore 17,30 con Nelli Vanzan Marchini,Gaetano Thiene dell'Università degli Studi di Padoca, Girolamo Fazzini responsabile del Lazzaretto Novo : La storia e il futuro del Lazzaretto Vecchio,

il 29 ottobre alle 17,30 Il patrimonio storico dell'Ospedale Civile nella Scuola Grande di San Marco, relatrice Nelli Vanzan Marchini, sono invitati al dibattito Giuseppe Dal Ben Direttore dell'USSL 12 veneziana, le soprintendenti Lorena Dal Poz, Giovanna Damiani, Erilde Terenzoni.

il 5 novembre parteciperanno alla tavola rotonda su I patrimoni della sanità veneziana, progettualità europea e modelli di sviluppo compatibile

Alberto D'Alessandro (Consiglio d'Europa, Venice Office), Fausta Bressani (Direzione dei Beni Culturali della Regione del Veneto), Umberto Marcello del Majno (Comitati Internazionali dei privati), Vincenzo Tiné (Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici del Veneto), Erminia Sciacchitano (referente MiBact per la cooperazione con il Consiglio d’Europa)


New writing

Michelle contributed some thoughts on drowning to the History Girls blog on October 10th. Her next post on that blog is on November 10th.


November books

Beatrice Hitchman, Petit Mort

Ines Bielski Lagazzi, Saint Lucy

Alessandro Marzo Magno, Bound in Venice, The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book



Harristown Sisters

October 2013


Michelle Lovric's next book for adults, The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, will be published by Bloomsbury in June 2014 in the UK and in August in the USA.

The Fate in the Box is one of eight shortlisted titles for the Hillingdon Primary School Book of the Year Award 2014.

Two poems by Michelle have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

Her poem about a London rat visiting Venice has just been published in Projects Inspired by Poetry and Art by Caroline George and Rebecca Bruce.


New writing

Michelle posted about a march through Venice's past on The History Girls website on August 10th

Her next History Girls blog will be on October 10th.



October books

Davide Busato, Serial Killers of Venice

Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Wendy French and Jane Kirwan, Born in the NHS

Roddy Doyle, Greyhound of a Girl

Frank Schatzing, Death and the Devil





August & September 2013

Welcome to the Birdcage describes The Book of Human Skin as "wonderful slice of fiction. If you're a fan of any Gothic Literature, the works and writing of Anne Rice or shows like Hannibal, Game of Thrones or The Borgias on HBO etc I would recommend this book for you. This dazzlingly dark novel will certainly prove an interesting read as it turns one of the most beautiful cities in Europe into a much grimmer place. The story is shocking and amusing in all the right measures. Don't read this book if you have a queasy/weak stomach."

Darren Hartwell at Bookzone4Boys has posted a heartwarming review of The Fate in the Box: "With this, her fourth book, surely it is time that Michelle is lauded by all as one of the current greats, along with the likes of David Almond, John Boyne, and even Neil Gaiman. I certainly enjoyed this a lot more than I did The Ocean at the End of the Lane." He adds: "Somewhere I have a much used book mark that bears a quote by the great Mark Twain. I think it goes something like: "My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Fortunately everybody drinks water". Yes, I drink a lot of water, but every now and again I like to partake of a fine wine, and Michelle Lovric's books are among the finest of fine wines available."

And Cheryl Pasquier has also reviewed the Fate in the Box here at Madhouse Family Reviews. She's picked up on the underlying message that we should not rely on machines and technology so much.


Events and appearances

Michelle Lovric will be teaching a Guardian Masterclass in children’s writing with Lucy Coats on September 7th. The course is sold out but there are further sessions planned for October and November.

She will also appear at the Festival of Book Clubs at Lord Wandsworth College on September 11th.

Lord Wandsworth College
Long Sutton
Hampshire RG29 1TB


New writing

Michelle posted a blog about a new mascot for Venice on the History Girls on July 10th.

On August 10th, she posted on gifts to the water, historical and present. Her next post on the History Girls will be September 10th.


August books

Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue
Mary Roach, Stiff
Joan Carroll Cruz, Relics
Louise Levene, A Vision of Loveliness
Paula Martinac, Chicken
James Bentley, Restless Bones
Nicholson Baker, A Box of Matches
Kevin Fong, Extremes
Kathleen Walker-Meikle, Mediaeval Pets
Rob Lloyd Jones, Wild Boy
Penelope Lively, According to Mark


July 2013


New writing

Michelle posted a blog about blue glass seahorses, hair sandwiches and veiled statues on The History Girls on June 10th.

Her next blog for The History Girls will be July 10th.

She writes about beautification and laziness in an interview with Beth Kemp at Thoughts by the Hearthfire.


Venice news

Many of Venice's grave problems have possible solutions, but no robust attempt has been made to apply them.  Anna Somers Cocks has written a sobering account of the city's governance for the New York Review of Books.


July Books

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
Andrea Ashworth, Once in a House on Fire
John Julius Norwich, The Paradise of Cities
Augustus Hare and St Claire Baddeley, Venice
Joseph Pohle, Mariology
John Eglin, Venice Transfigured
Vernon Lee, The Enchanted Woods
Federico Barbierato, The Inquisitor in the Hat Shop
Alison Luchs, The Mermaids of Venice
H. Chick (ed), A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia
Andrew Jotischky, The Carmelites and Antiquity
Various, San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice

Artwork by Agnes Treherne


June 2013

The Fate in the Box, published May 2nd, has been receiving reviews.

Elizabeth Murray at Inis, the magazine for Children's Books Ireland, says, "Lovric uses a unique and charismatic approach to standard themes such as good vs evil, right vs wrong, selfishness vs the greater good and the right to redemption and revenge. Overall, The Fate in the Box delivers a gripping blend of nail-biting adventure, brain-tingling mystery and laugh-out-loud slapstick with a rewarding ending, guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats."
Read the whole review here

Vincent Ripley at Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books writes, "There is so much going on in this story that you are never quite sure what's coming around the corner. It could be amazingly written dialogue one minute quickly followed by humour and laughs the next. With a combination of suspense, mystery, horror and mayhem this story really does have the lot. It is a truly creative and, in my opinion, a one of a kind reading experience."
Read the whole review here

Sarah Taylor at Bookbabblers read the whole book in two sittings.
Read her review here

Sue Purkiss on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure warns that "The Fate in the Box is not for the faint-hearted. But the way the story is told is so affirmative that, even as you seriously consider taking shelter behind the sofa, you know that ultimately good and the children will triumph. I'd recommend this to boys and girls who enjoy adventure, humour, fantasy, and a good story phenomenally well told."
Read the whole review here

Meanwhile Bookwitch warns readers that they also risk getting an education.

Beth Kemp at Thoughts from the Hearthfire says that "The Fate in the Box has all the characteristics of the best-loved children's stories, including larger-than-life characters alongside believable child heroes, magic and mystery and clear lines between good and evil."
Read the whole review here

Sam Hawksmoor at Hackwriters has worked out the connections: "There is great evil and paranoia in this Italian adventure and much fun to be had in what is really a kind of distant prequel to the wonderful Undrowned Child by Ms Lovric. The conclusion: A complex delight with vivid writing that brings old Venice to life in a way that only Michelle Lovric can do. Are there any mermaids you ask? Can there just be only one shrivelled specimen in the Museum of Natural History?  Read on if you dare.  You will not be disappointed."
Read the whole review here

And The Fate in the Box's salty-tongued curry-gobbling mermaids are also mentioned in this lovely review for The Undrowned Child.

Barrie Kerper at The Collected Traveller Blog has written a long post about Michelle Lovric's writing for children and adults, and the bookshop campaign in Venice. She says, "even though I find and enjoy lots of fiction related to the places I'm going, it's rare to find an author who is as completely smitten with the place as I am, someone who has delved into a place's history and current affairs and makes it his or her business to really make readers feel they are right there. Michelle Lovric is one of these authors, and Venice is her specialty." She adds, "I put Lovric's fictional writing about Venice in the same category as Alan Furst's writing about Paris, Sarah Dunant's writing about Renaissance Florence, Lawrence Durrell's writing about Alexandria, and Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz writing about Fra Filippo Lippi in their book The Miracles of Prato."
Read the full piece and the interview here

Meanwhile The Mourning Emporium receives a lovely accolade from Mary Hooper writing for the Guardian. She picked it out as one of her favourite historical reads, saying, "The story had me on the edge of my seat: it's a sparkling, whirling mass of a book, different from any other historical fiction you'll read."
See all Mary Hooper's other choices and read about her own new novel The Disgrace of Kitty Grey here.

The first ever electronic editions of Michelle's earlier three novels for adults are published on June 3rd by Bloomsbury. They are
The Floating Book


The Remedy

The books will be reissued in paperback, with new covers, to coincide with the publication of the new adult novel, The Swiney Godivas, in 2014.


New writing

Michelle has written a poem about a young London rat who travels to Venice and ends up romantically entangled in more ways than one. It is included in Projects Inspired by Poetry and Art by Celine George and Rebecca Bruce, to be published in September 2013 by HarperCollins. The poem has been beautifully illustrated by Agnes Treherne.

Michelle will be the guest speaker at a Guardian masterclass on How to Write For Children led by Lucy Coats. The course takes place on September 7th 2013. Details and booking information here.

Michelle posted a piece on The History Girls on May 1oth about exploring the extraordinary bell-tower of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.

She wrote about what has happened to all the Canaletto paintings in Venice for Mary Hoffman at Book Maven and about creating bookshop window displays for An Awfully Big Blog Adventure

She revealed some Swedish affinities and strange truths about herself in an interview with Bookwitch and chatted to Teresa Majury at Lovely Treez Reads about all things Irish and Italian, and about the vulnerability of writers young and old

With Sarah Taylor at Bookbabblers, she talked about writing the eighteenth century and the "pulchroactivity" of Venice

Michelle's next History Girls post will be on June 10th.

June books

Charles L. Graves, Ed, Humours of Irish Life
Algernon Bastard, The Gourmet's Guide to Europe, 1903
Moris Farhi, Songs from Two Continents
Natasha Solomons, The Novel in the ViolaKatie Fforde, Living Dangerously
Günter Grass, Poems of Günter Grass
J.O. Choules (ed), Young Americans Abroad Vacation in Europe: Travels in England, France, 
Holland, Belgium, Prussia and Switzerland, 1852
Hunter Davies, The Grand Tour
George. H. Heffner, The Youthful Wanderer, 1876
(extract: As I was very much disappointed with Venice, 
I shall not occupy much time in describing this daughter of the sea. 
The railway bridge which leads to this city is about two miles long. 
I expected that a city whose streets are canals and whose carriages 
are all boats, would present a very unique appearance, but when I 
once saw them, they were so exactly what I had anticipated, that I 
felt disgusted and left the city without doing justice even to the vast 
collection of paintings in the Ducal Palace.





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