Scotland The Grave

Last night Liechtenstein came within a whisker of pulling off one of their greatest ever results, falling to a 97th minute goal against Scotland at Hampden. It’s always good to see plucky no-hopers upset the odds, especially when they grab an injury-time winner....

New book out, world jolts on axis

Against all advice to the contrary from various quarters my new book Our Man In Hibernia: Ireland, The Irish And Me is launched onto an unsuspecting world this week. It’s a cracking read – you’re all in it – and available from all good...

A Literary Mystery

I love books, me. I don’t mean literature as such, I mean books, the tangible cover-and-pages product. There are many reasons why I won’t be buying an e-reader and the main one is that I think they depersonalise the relationship between books and readers; the very...

Remembering Hillsborough

It hardly seems possible for a day still lodged so vividly in the memory but it’s now twenty-one years since ninety-six people went to a football match on a warm spring day at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield and never came home. Many of you reading this will have...

Books I'd Save In A Fire

It’s World Book Day today. Recently I’ve finally managed to put up bookcases in my office and am hence able to haul out the books that have been in archive boxes clogging up nearly every wardrobe and cupboard in the place since I moved to Ireland. Now that...

Twelve Tips For Writers

The Guardian has been publishing writers’ tips for fiction lately, and most of them are spot on. There’s some great advice there. Being a fan of making lists, here are a few things that I’ve said to people over the years when they have, for some inexplicable reason,...