The Nordic countries are synonymous with crime fiction -- the bleak and murderous landscapes of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell. But the Nordic countries offer a wealth of literary riches in a broad range of genres. For me, some of the most exciting writing from the North is found outside of the detective's territory.
I am an actress and the truest things I know are a stage, faux fur, black literature and cotton knickers. It really isn't a lie when I say I wasn't trying to be an author. It happened by the virtue of a forgetful mind ,a spilt cup of tea, some magic and five pieces of paper. With this haphazard spell, I broke the internet on a Wednesday afternoon. Literally.
I think it's about time the mainstream bookshelves reflected the mix and diversity that actually exists in society. I think it's time that diverse characters, with racially diverse backgrounds and parentage and histories, finally found their way onto our contemporary bookshelves in the 'main' sections.
Wrapped in a blanket, my brothers and I used to sit by the radiator and listen to my mum read children's classics. My favourites were Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. I remember revelling in the stories of a clueless bear, accompanied by excited and reluctant friends, wandering around Hundred Acre Wood in the perpetual pursuit of honey.
This was a special production, too, in that the parts of Shakespeare's 'Mechanicals', the working men of Athens who stage the play-within-a-play at Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding feast, were played by actors from local amateur dramatic groups in each region visited by the tour, and the parts of fairy attendants being played by local schoolchildren.
When you're feeling overwhelmed or sad, it's incredibly easy to feel alone in this, and think that no one else would ever understand. But what I've found in poetry is that these very emotions and confused states of being you thought were so unusual and isolated to you, have been in fact the topic of address for many decades, and probably will continue to be so.
All the literary women I have loved have been moved by an idea of love as something that is enormous, life changing, all-consuming, their raison d'être: Emma Bovary, Antoinette Rochester (the 'mad woman in the attic' from Jane Eyre who is brought to life in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea,) and my absolute favourite, Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights...
Ghosting, which was recently chosen as one of 2015's words of the year by Collins English Dictionary, is when someone cuts you off dead - the ultimate silent treatment. Your calls are ignored, your texts left unread and, if you're as unbearable as me, you might even find yourself full-on digitally blocked (even Linked in - I'm not going to late-night stalk your endorsements).