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Empathy

I was once, many years ago, colour analysed by a BBC stylist, who came to the conclusion my shade was blue. 

Since then, I've probably gathered together one of the world's finest collections of blue shirts. 

But there are blues and there are blues. 

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I did two important events this week, both about how to handle the media.

One was to a group of aspiring writers, the other to a group of business people. 

It won't take long for you to work out which particular blue shirt I wore to which event. 

I'm often asked... what's... Read more

Clear Eyes, Humility and The Plague

I went to an exhibition of pictures of the Third Flu Pandemic in Cambridge this week. 

(Yes, I must have been in a cheery mood.) 

But although it was disturbing, with its images of dreadful mass suffering, it was also very thought provoking. 

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Something that stayed with me was overhearing another visitor saying to a friend, "Medicine was so primitive then."

And, as little things often do (with this strange brain, anyway), that led to a tumble of thoughts. 

Part of the job of a writer is to see the world with clear eyes, drawing attention... Read more

Woo Hoo and Wow

Excuse the strange title, but it sums up how I feel about this particular musing. 

It's probably both the hardest and easiest blog I've written. 

The headline is that this week marks ten years to the day since my first novel was published. 

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The hard part of this is trying to find the words to express what writing has meant for my life. 

However... 

Enormous personal pride at the challenge I set myself, and seeing it through. 

Everything I've learnt about writing and the world since. 

The amazing places I've travelled, talking about my books. 

The... Read more

Ch-ch-ch-changes

As the great David Bowie sang - change can be unsettling, but also refreshing. 

I've been asked to give a talk at the wonderful Exeter College next month.

I've done this for several years now, always on the theme of journalism, and it's always gone well. 

So it would be easy, safe and effective to do the same talk all over again. But this time I'm going to change it. 

Why? To reflect what's new in life. 

Much of the reason I left the BBC was to try something different.

Work in the private sector. Work in the power circles... Read more