Michelle Lovric 

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Harristown Sisters

Harristown Sisters


April 2014


Book news

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:

April 5th

May 7th

May 31st

To book, contact the Guardian


New writing

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.


April books

Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling
Drew Keys, Narcissists Exposed
Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands
Brian Dillon, Tormented Hope



Harristown Sisters

Deidre Kelly Wonder Atlas

March 2014

Goodreads has a giveaway offer for The True & Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, to be published on June 5th, by Bloomsbury.


New writing

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

Taste Every Word


Venice News

Venetian collage artist Deirdre Kelly features in a new exhibition in London


Contemporary Collage & Photomontage

CHART gallery, 62 Old Church Street, London SW3 6DP 
Open Wed to Sat: 12 - 6pm; Sun: 12 - 4pm / 020 7323 1109

rsvp: info@chartgallery.co.uk    www.chartgallery.co.uk


March books

Kate Atkinson, Life after Life
Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall
Erik Larson, The Devil in White City
Edizioni Kina, Syracuse City of Art and Ancient History




February 2014

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.


February books

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
Mira Crouch, Almost Home, a memoir of migration
Jonathan Roper, ed, Charms, Charmers and Charming
Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Sugar Island Slavery in the Age of Enlightenment.
Laurence Alma Tadema, The Crucifix, a Venetian Phantasy
James Endell Tyler, Oaths; their origin, nature and history
F.O. Shyllon, Black Slaves in Britain
Eleanor Farjeon, The Fair Venetian
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, History of My Life, Vol 1
Michael Hulse, Half-life
Elisabetta Caminer Turra, Selected Writings of an Eighteenth-Century Venetian Woman of Letters

Harristown Sisters

Lucy Coates


January 2014

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.”

Fleur Fisher from Fleur in her World. Follow Jane on Twitter @fleurinherworld

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.

New writing

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.

Venice News

English Pantomime in Venice
With extravagant costumes, great music, and audience participation, it's great fun for both kids and adults, whether one speaks English well or not!
Free to the public!
Donations will be collected at the end of the performances to benefit the non-profit organisation La Gabbianella, which is dedicated to providing the warmth of a family to the young children living with their mothers in the female prison on the Giudecca island in Venice.
Teatro a L'Avogaria
Dorsoduro 1617, Calle Lunga San Barnaba
Thursday, January 16 at 7:30 pm
Friday, January 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, January 18 at 3:30 pm
Bookings are obligatory
Seating is limited
To book, please email pantoinfo@gmail.com with the date and time of the performance, and the number of seats requested. A confirmation email will sent to you. Or, telephone us at 348 5150212.
To keep up-to-date on Pantomime news go to Facebook “Panto Venezia“, follow us on Twitter at “Panto Venice“.

January books

Tiziano Scarpa, Laguna l’invidiosa
Peter Hoeg The Elephant Keepers’ Children
Lucy Inglis, Georgian London, Into the Streets

Venezia Città di Lettori

Crocodiles of Venice

Tales on Moon Lane

December 2013

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:
It begins:  "This is going to be a little uncomfortable".  
One hundred and thirty-seven pages in and it is screwing up my real life.  Darn that hideous, hazy state when life drags you from a disturbing read and places you in the company of others feeling disconnected and tongue tied.
This book might actually be rendering me speechless.
I must finish reading it so that I might, once again, function in life like a normal  (relatively), fully engaged (partially) human being.


New writing

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.


Venice News

The Venezia Città di Lettori campaign to save the bookshops of La Serenissima has continued with a new initiative on November 30th.

Well-known Venetian authors served as booksellers for a day in the city’s surviving bookshops:
gruppo Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/480626258677072/ 

Cafoscarina Michela Scibilia [mattino], Alberto Fiorin [pomeriggio]
Don Chisciotte Fabio Amadi [mattino], Marco Crestani [pomeriggio]
Giunti Sant’Aponal Davide Busato [mattino], Michela Scibilia [pomeriggio]
Giunti Strada Nova Andrea Molesini [mattino], Davide Busato [pomeriggio]
Marco Polo Tiziano Scarpa [10–11], Fulvio Ervas [11–13], Anna Toscano [pomeriggio]
Mare di Carta Cristiano Dorigo [mattino], Paolo Ganz [pomeriggio]
Miracoli Marco Crestani [mattino], Paola Zoffoli [pomeriggio]
Punto Einaudi Tiziano Scarpa [11.30–13], Tiziana Plebani [pomeriggio]
Studium Alessandro Marzo Magno [mattino], Cristina Gregorin [pomeriggio]
Toletta Paola Zoffoli [mattino], Alberto Toso Fei [pomeriggio]
Ulisse & Co Alberto Fiorin [mattino], Elisabetta Tiveron [pomeriggio] 
Wellington BooKs Robin Saikia [mattino], Carla Toffolo [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.
A taste of the show can be seen in this video on Youtube


December books

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.
Jacob Tomsky, Heads on Beds
Colm Toibin, Testament of Mary
Helen Dunmore, The Love of Fat Men
Ned Beauman, Boxer Beetle
Ed Sean Lawlor and John Pilling, The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett


Michael Portillo

November 2013

Michelle Lovric is interviewed by Michael Portillo in the Great Continental Railway Journeys episode on BBC2 at 8pm on November 3rd.


Venice News

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)


New writing

Michelle contributed some thoughts on drowning to the History Girls blog on October 10th. Her next post on that blog is on November 10th.


November books

Beatrice Hitchman, Petit Mort

Ines Bielski Lagazzi, Saint Lucy

Alessandro Marzo Magno, Bound in Venice, The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book



Harristown Sisters

October 2013


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.


New writing

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.



October books

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 posted 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 wines available.

And Cheryl Pasquier has also reviewed the Fate in the Box here at Madhouse Family Reviews. She’s picked up on the underlying message that we should not rely on machines and technology so much.


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.

Lord Wandsworth College
Long Sutton
Hampshire RG29 1TB


New writing

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.


August books

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


July 2013


New writing

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.


Venice news

Many of Venice’s grave problems have possible solutions, but no robust attempt has been made to apply them.  Anna Somers Cocks has written a sobering account of the city’s governance for the New York Review of Books.


July Books

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
Andrea Ashworth, Once in a House on Fire
John Julius Norwich, The Paradise of Cities
Augustus Hare and St Claire Baddeley, Venice
Joseph Pohle, Mariology
John Eglin, Venice Transfigured
Vernon Lee, The Enchanted Woods
Federico Barbierato, The Inquisitor in the Hat Shop
Alison Luchs, The Mermaids of Venice
H. Chick (ed), A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia
Andrew Jotischky, The Carmelites and Antiquity
Various, San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice

Artwork by Agnes Treherne


June 2013

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.’
Read the whole review here

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.’
Read the whole review here

Sarah Taylor at Bookbabblers read the whole book in two sittings.
Read her review here

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.’
Read the whole review here

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.’
Read the whole review here

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 Venice to life in a way that only Michelle Lovric can do. Are there any mermaids you ask? – Can there just be only one shrivelled specimen in the Museum of Natural History?  Read on if you dare.  You will not be disappointed.'
Read the whole review here

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 Venice. She says, ‘even though I find and enjoy lots of fiction related to the places I’m going, it’s rare to find an author who is as completely smitten with the place as I am, someone who has delved into a place’s history and current affairs and makes it his or her business to really make readers feel they are right there. Michelle Lovric is one of these authors, and Venice is her specialty. She adds, ‘I put Lovric’s fictional writing about Venice in the same category as Alan Furst’s writing about Paris, Sarah Dunant’s writing about Renaissance Florence, Lawrence Durrell’s writing about Alexandria, and Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz writing about Fra Filippo Lippi in their book The Miracles of Prato.’
Read the full piece and the interview here

Meanwhile The Mourning Emporium receives a lovely accolade from Mary Hooper writing for the Guardian. She picked it out as one of her favourite historical reads, saying,The story had me on the edge of my seat: it’s a sparkling, whirling mass of a book, different from any other historical fiction you’ll read.’
See all Mary Hooper’s other choices and read about her own new novel The Disgrace of Kitty Grey here.

The first ever electronic editions of Michelle’s earlier three novels for adults are published on June 3rd by Bloomsbury. They are
The Floating Book


The Remedy

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.


New writing

Michelle has written a poem about a young London rat who travels to Venice and ends up romantically entangled in more ways than one. It is included in Projects Inspired by Poetry and Art by Celine George and Rebecca Bruce, to be published in September 2013 by HarperCollins. The poem has been beautifully illustrated by Agnes Treherne.

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 Venice.

She wrote about what has happened to all the Canaletto paintings in Venice for Mary Hoffman at Book Maven

… 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 Venice

Michelle’s next History Girls post will be on June 10th.

June books

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 England, France, 
Holland, Belgium, Prussia and Switzerland, 1852
Hunter Davies, The Grand Tour
George. H. Heffner, The Youthful Wanderer, 1876
(extract: As I was very much disappointed with Venice, 
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.’





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