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:
To book, contact the Guardian
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.
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling
Goodreads has a giveaway offer for The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, to be published on June 5th, by Bloomsbury.
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
Venetian collage artist Deirdre Kelly features in a new exhibition in London
Contemporary Collage & Photomontage
Kate Atkinson, Life after Life
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.
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
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.”
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.
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.
English Pantomime in Venice
Tiziano Scarpa, Laguna l’invidiosa
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:
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.
The Venezia Città di Lettori campaign to save the bookshops of La Serenissima has continued with a new initiative on November 30th.
Cafoscarina Michela Scibilia [mattino], Alberto Fiorin [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.
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.
Michelle Lovric is interviewed by Michael Portillo in the Great Continental Railway Journeys episode on BBC2 at 8pm on November 3rd.
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)
Michelle contributed some thoughts on drowning to the History Girls blog on October 10th. Her next post on that blog is on November 10th.
Beatrice Hitchman, Petit Mort
Ines Bielski Lagazzi, Saint Lucy
Alessandro Marzo Magno, Bound in Venice, The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book
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 Céline George and Rebecca Bruce.
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.
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 ‘a 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
Andrea Ashworth, Once in a House on Fire
John Julius Norwich, The
Augustus Hare and St Claire Baddeley,
Joseph Pohle, Mariology
Federico Barbierato, The Inquisitor in the Hat Shop
Alison Luchs, The Mermaids of
H. Chick (ed), A Chronicle of the Carmelites in
Andrew Jotischky, The Carmelites and
Various, San Marco,
Artwork by Agnes Treherne
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.’
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.’
Sarah Taylor at Bookbabblers read the whole book in two sittings.
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.’
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.’
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 '
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
Meanwhile The Mourning Emporium receives a lovely accolade from
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.
Michelle has written a poem about a young
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
She wrote about what has happened to all the Canaletto paintings in
… 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
Michelle’s next History Girls post will be on June 10th.
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
Hunter Davies, The Grand Tour
George. H. Heffner, The Youthful Wanderer, 1876
(extract: As I was very much disappointed with
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.’
Click here to read archived News articles