I believe characters in stories should be as diverse as the people who read them, but only a very small handful of children's books feature a deaf character. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. Most are born to hearing parents and go to mainstream schools where they may be the only deaf child, so they can feel quite isolated.
So, in a project I went in search of picture books that represented disability. The project was driven by my personal belief that picture books could be an effective and successful way of opening up a conversation about disability, which can subsequently enable a child to understand and accept disability in real life.
Never has it been more important to celebrate the contribution woman make to our rich and diverse culture, and although fiction's primary purpose might be to entertain us, we also know it teaches us empathy and opens up worlds and peoples we might never encounter or understand any other way. And that has never felt more important.
My wife and I had only one reading at our wedding and it was from his short book. Our lives have been held together by many things, but John Berger's words are the literary resin that binds us. As we turn to face what 2017 holds in store for us - as the angels chatter distills and clarifies - the incredible legacy of Berger's writing is something magical to draw on. It can help see us through.
Now, I wish to take a step back for a moment. You may be thinking it is strange for me to say 'mothers from day one', but it is true. If you look at the toys advertised for girls even today - what do we have? Garish amounts of playthings that are designed to ingrain a want in young girls to be perfect little wives and moulded into aspiring little mummies when they grow up.
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.