Hidden gem

Returning to print after a break of some nine years, it has been sobering how tough it is for a new literary novel to gain attention. Since I was last published, books pages in the press have shrunk markedly, and the sheer volume of titles appearing overwhelms the space available. It has been interesting and heartening, then, to find Sister Sebastian’s Library nosing its way into the light in a number of places. A surge in sales followed a profile of me in the British Medical Journal, published the same weekend that the Guardian included the book in a round-up of titles that might have received greater initial attention. Most pleasing of all, though, was Buckinghamshire libraries’ inclusion of Sister Sebastian’s Library as one of their ‘hidden gems’ of 2016.

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Phil Whitaker

'Whitaker is so genuinely inventive' - Spectator