In the acknowledgements of her new novel NW, along with the names of friends, family, editors and publishers, Zadie Smith also thanks freedom and self-control “for creating the time”. Every writer needs the freedom to be creative and the self-control to stick with a project, but Smith has something rather more 21st century in mind
A group of record company executives, sitting down to sketch the perfect rock star, may well come up with someone a little like Dave Grohl. He has the look – long, thick black hair; he has the talent – he plays the drums, guitar and piano, he sings and he writes his own songs; and, above all, he has both pedigree and credibility.
You think writers live in garrets? Think again. Carl Wilkinson introduces the Millionaire’s Club, an exclusive band of authors whose books have sold more than a million copies.
The Lofoten Islands look like they’ve been drawn by a child with an over-active imagination. Glimpsed through the windows of the noisy Dash-8 aircraft as I came in to land at Leknes airport, this otherworldly archipelago in the far reaches of northern Norway revealed itself to be a place of improbably jagged, snow-capped mountains surrounded by sea as clear and sparkly as liquid diamonds.
On the set of ‘Resistance’, a freezing mist swirls across the slopes of the exposed Welsh hillside where we have been standing since dawn. Trailed by the cameraman, sound engineer and director, the actress Andrea Riseborough walks away from us, then turns, gazing towards the hidden valley below before she disappears over the ridge and someone shouts “Cut!”
Today, almost 60 per cent of Swedes have access to a summer house and, for those living in Stockholm, the summer is an opportunity to flee the city for the calm, bucolic surroundings of the 30,000 odd islands, islets and skerries that lie just east of the city centre.