Like most people, I'm a sucker for a feel-good story. Walk into any bookshop and you will see a veritable smorgasbord of inspirational biographies and autobiographies fanned across the shelves. They all have a common golden thread deftly woven through the chapters: overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you.
The main secret I learned was there's no escaping the fact that the key to getting a book written is hard slog. But if you're going to do it, you may as well do it with copious amounts of cake and good company. I'm already planning my next escape, even if it does mean working on another novel to justify it.
Immensely quotable, universally appealing, read all over the world - that's Paulo Coelho, the indisputable king of popular Brazilian literature. The man behind The Alchemist, one of the best-selling novels ever written, may be a spiritual guru to many, but his past is marked by episodes of black magic, drugs and orgies.
The effect of living in a world where people of one sex are treated - in myriad tiny, indistinguishable, invisible ways - completely and utterly differently from people of another sex is enormous. You don't need to directly experience each individual component for this level of combined violence and oppression and prejudice to have a huge impact on you - on your life and your lifestyle, your ideas and ideals, and your fundamental perception of yourself and of the world around you. We think of men and women as living and working in the same world, and experiencing it similarly. But in many ways the manifestation of an identical event or activity by one might be entirely unrecognizable to the other.
Where will you be at 7.30pm BST, on Tuesday 1st July? Tuning into Food Tube for a LIVE Drinks Tube takeover, of course! The gorgeous Jamie Oliver wi...