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Thursday 28th August I think

28/08/2003

I’m on my yearly visit to the Isle of Wight, woken each morning by wild geese flapping their wings and organising their travel arrangements in the marshes next to the old Mill House where I’m staying with my vast tribe of family and friends. I am feeling very grubby, like an old hippy. My hair sticks up and I haven’t looked in a mirror for days. The highlights of summers in the Isle of Wight are things like sitting watching sunsets while children catch crabs in the river Yar, riding along the old railway line on my (new) bike; eating huge suppers around a large table each night, then playing games when you have to pretend to be animals (thankyou Jack). I have been reading constantly….The Curious Incident of The Dog At Midnight, by Mark Haddon….this is fantastic…a book written from the point of view of an autistic boy. My sister and I agreed that we felt what it was like to be autistic reading this book. It’s quite dark and sad, although you think it will be happy when you begin it. Also Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson…very gripping, set in a place not unlike the IOW. Her language is so taut and accurate. And The Colour, by Rose Tremain…bloody fantastic, like all Tremain’s work. She should win the Booker I think.

Anyway, it’s been nice being on the Booker longlist. I wonder if I shall put a bet on? I think the Dog at Midnight will get onto the shortlist, also probably Margaret Atwood, Coetzee, and now I can’t remember who else is on. We have been discussing it like mad round the table at the Mill. It’s great that they don’t decide the shortlist until 16th Sept, as it’s a long time to go around carrying a little flutter. I am very pleased that my friend John Murray is on with his book Jazz Etc. We can flutter together!

I am dying to get back to the new novel….although I love holidays, towards the end I get a bit nervous. If I stop writing for a bit then I fear I won’t be able to do it again! Anyway, I had better go…we’re all going for a walk along the cliffs to Alum Bay. Maybe I will brush my hair.

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