Two Africas – Alexandria to Cape Town

07th, Jul 2013

Alexandria – this must be the most beautiful name for a city. Poised on the northernmost rim of Africa, it is a place I have been to only through literature, and through a literary and family association buried in official secrecy – but that is another story.

Anna Kavan – a unique modernist vision

04th, Jul 2013

Being a writer is one of those no-guarantee professions: there are no guarantees that you will get published and, if you do, that you will be read and understood.

Wilderness and the Future City

05th, May 2013

From the land of lions to the Lion City (all will be illuminated)… wilderness and the future were the perhaps unsurprising themes in a recent working trip to Singapore.

The Skeleton Coast

19th, Apr 2013

I have just returned from my third visit to Namibia. What keeps drawing me back to this desert country to the north of South Africa, where I currently live?

Horn of Africa

12th, Mar 2013

Cape Town’s Design Indaba (a Zulu word meaning ‘matter for discussion’) is an annual exhibition of the best of design, arts and crafts of southern Africa.

Walking the Secret Hills of Laikipia

17th, Jan 2013

In the promotional trailer for BBC’s current showcase natural history series, Africa, Sir David Attenborough plants himself human compass-like at the top of a hill. In all directions are sweeping, majestic views, empty of human civilisation.

The Ninth Wave – writing at sea

29th, Nov 2012

I have written substantial parts of my last two books at sea, much of them typing with one hand while clinging to the desk with the other, keeping a leery eye on the cabin window to determine which stage we were in the great oceanic washing machine cycle.