Artemis' Blog


Elizabeth Jane Howard: Complete

Posted on March 18th, 2016

I delivered the biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard last week ago – always a nice feeling, but I shall miss her. She was funny and courageous and loyal, dramatically impulsive and romantic, and at the same time very down to earth and practical. A better chooser of friends than she was of men, and a better writer than she’s often given credit… Read more


Halfway through

Posted on September 22nd, 2015

Jane used to compare the experience of writing a novel to rowing a small boat across the Atlantic.  You set off to the cheers of friends and well-wishers, but  soon you’re all alone in an immensity of sea. The place you left is a long way away. The land you hope to reach is not even a dot on the… Read more



Posted on September 18th, 2015

This photo of Paddy was taken in 1946 by Joan Eyres-Monsell, whom he later married.  It’s my favourite photo of him. At this point he has never published a book and has little more than the clothes on his back, and yet the joy and confidence just pour off him.


Do trout eat mice?

Posted on September 10th, 2015

It never occurred to me that trout might eat mice but sometimes they do… In the forests of North America and New Zealand, an abundance of certain seeds leads to a huge rise in the mouse population; and when that food source dries up, the mice have to migrate – sometimes swimming across rivers to find new territories to colonise…. Read more


The Skies over London

Posted on September 1st, 2015

The skies over London have been amazing recently.  I took this on 27 August – shame about the washing lines but I couldn’t frame the rainbow any better


A visit to York

Posted on August 16th, 2015

On 16 July this year, Antony and I were made Doctors of the University of York – a very happy day, and a very proud one too. In my speech to the congregation, I took the opportunity to pay tribute to my Oxford tutor Ann Wordsworth, who died two years ago. ‘This is such an honour. I would like to thank… Read more


Elizabeth Jane Howard died a year ago tomorrow

Posted on January 1st, 2015

Elizabeth Jane Howard died a year ago tomorrow. It was sad that she didn’t enjoy the success of the final Cazalet novel, All Change, for a bit longer but after the death of her brother Colin in December 2013, she didn’t want to go on. She died in her own pretty room with her daughter nearby – just slipped away,… Read more


Some progress

Posted on September 25th, 2014

Over the course of this summer I’ve had a number of interviews with people who knew Jane, and the more I think about her the more contradictory she becomes. She writes about children so well but she didn’t really like them, I think she preferred dogs. In interviews she defined herself as a writer, but deep down I think it… Read more


Posted on June 13th, 2014

I wrote Cairo in the War: 1939-1945 almost thirty years ago, and getting a presentation together on such a complicated subject is taking up far more time than expected – although I’d forgotten how many good stories I managed to cram into the book. Then two nights ago, I sat next to someone who is involved with the Brooke Hospital… Read more

Events 2014

Posted on June 4th, 2014

  Chalke Valley History Festival,  Thursday 26 June, 6.30pm Cairo in the War, 1939-1945   East Neuk Literary Festival, Saturday 28 June, 12 noon The Broken Road    The Annual Niarchos History Lecture, Yale University Patrick Leigh Fermor