Thank you to all those who have dropped in to our on-line surgery in the last week and shared their problems and predicaments with us – welcome to the site! Traffic has been pretty heavy since our appearance in The New Yorker – readers of this illustrious magazine clearly know a good thing when they hear about it. If you have posted us an ailment in the last few days, please be patient as we work through the backlog.* We'll let you know by email when your cure has gone up – but do also bear in mind that a more in-depth prescription tailored to your personal tastes and reading habits can be obtained by booking a one-to-one bibliotherapy session with us via The School of Life. We frequently do these sessions by skype so it doesn't mean you need to jump on a plane to London…

Meanwhile, pick up a copy of The Novel Cure at your nearest bookshop (now available in a variety of different languages!).

*If patience is not one of your many virtues, take our cure for Being in a Waiting Room: Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination.


Ceridwen Dovey wrote a wonderful piece about bibliotherapy for The New Yorker.  Here she talks to us about our bibliotherapy practise, and about the history of bibliotherapy through the ages and around the world. Ceridwen is a novelist who has written two excellent books - Blood Kin and Only the Animals.


Suse and I drew straws as to who could go to the Jaipur Literary Festival, and I was lucky enough to win the draw. It was my first ever trip to India, and what a blast it was. The event takes place at the picturesque Diggi Palace, where the sky is strewn with silken 'hats' from which colourful mini-elephants dangle, like jellyfish above our heads, giving you the impression you are under water. Delicious chai is handed out in earthenwear cups, and every event is chockablock full. Thousands flock to see the likes of V S Naipaul, Jeet Thayil and Will Self, to name but a tiny number of the 240 speakers invited to talk of books, politics, history and science, as well as poetry and music, at this eclectic, beautifully organised and culturally enriching event. I was in conversation with Samit Basu and Indrajit Hazra about the Novel Cure in India. It was great to finally meet Indrajit and discuss his excellent India-specific Novel Cures, such as Indian Stretchable Time, (cure: A Passage to India by E M Forster), and Public Urination (cure: The Last Jet Engine Laugh by Ruchir Joshi). I now understand why he put these cures in the book - IST was a phenomenon I grew to understand and thankfully took the Forster cure, so was left unscathed, and for the latter, well, the least said the better. At JLF you are guaranteed an audience of at least 400, and our event was wonderfully well attended. Indrajit and myself dispensed Novel Cures to interested parties from the audience, after talking about how the book came to be, both in India and in its home country. Susan was much missed! 

Our favourite booktuber

On New Year's Eve in America, just as all the champagne corks were being popped, The Novel Cure came out in beautiful Penguin paperback – a great excitement for us, being long-term admirers of those orange stripes... And as it did, the American booktubers got busy talking about it. Here's one of our favourites, Kristina Horner: 


Impossible not to love her, right? 


Ella and Suse are thrilled to be in snowy Seoul for the Korean launch of the Novel Cure. After speaking at a conference on Storytelling and Healing at Chung Ang University, they have been running workshops for graduate students interested in exploring a bibliotherapeutic approach to the novel and doing the publicity rounds.


Last week, Ella had the great pleasure of putting Billy Faithfull from WCRS on the bibliotherapy couch, at The Engine, Oxford St, London. Billy was a willing subject who happily shared his love of Maurice Sendak and James Herbert as a child, then Murakami and Dan Simmonds as an adult. You can watch the video of this session here -
Billy Faithfull bibliotherapy


When the fabulous news that Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker Prize was announced, Channel Four put out this piece explaining bibliotherapy. Bibliotherapy on Channel Four News

Here you can glimpse a live bibliotherapy session, which took place at The School of Life. If you would like to book your own session, go to The School of Life and follow the links for bibliotherapy sessions. 


We are delighted to announce the Indian publication of The Novel Cure by the esteemed and ever-witty publisher Roli Books, based in Delhi. Every book on their list is a thing of beauty, and we are proud that our book is now a member of this good-looking and worldly-wise family.

A big thank you also to our collaborator Indrajit Hazra who has added his flair, charm and cheek to the Indian edition along with a clutch of particularly Indian ailments and cures. Ex-vocalist of the now defunct Great Elastic Rubber Band (don’t you just love that?), Indrajit is a novelist and journalist and all-round cool dude and we look forward to joining him on stage for our upcoming tour of India next year, kicking off with the Jaipur Literary Festival in January. (Well, we’re still waiting for invitations from other Indian literary destinations – get in touch please Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore!)


Ella was thrilled to take part in the first Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell House in the New Forest. She had the delight of working bibliotherapy magic with festival-goers of all ages from teens to the more ancient, all in the wondrous Waterstones pop-up tent, where Tom Hammick was creating gorgeous prints before our very eyes, sending the fragrance of fresh printing ink around the festival. The house itself was incredible, and Ella's children frollicked merrily among the rhododendrons. Between bibliotherapy sessions, Ella was able to catch DBC Pierre, Rachel Joyce, Matt Haig and Rowan Pelling among many others, sharing their literary explorations with the Curious.

Guernsey Literary Festival

The third LIterary Festival in Guernsey was a particular joy for Ella, as this time she was able to bring The Novel Cure to the festival, and tell people about how and why it was written. Susan was sadly far away across the Atlantic so could not join her -one day, Guernsey, we must come together! As on previous years, Ella gave bibliotherapy sessions to all that were up for making the long climb into the magnificent story tower at the Guille Alles LIbrary. Many of Ella's clients have had stories read to them by the librarians in that very tower when they were little. Portholes look over St Peter Port, and the sun shone beneficently on us all - it was a glorious weekend.  Andrew Motion, Esther Freud, Janet Street Porter, Andrew Clover and Stephen May were just some of the great speakers who read from their books and hosted events. Ella also had the pleasure of putting local politician John Gollup on the Novel Cure couch, attracting a lively local audience who helped prescribe him his perfect books. We reccommended that he must read Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins to cure his smoking; The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion to help him laugh about his self-prescribed Apergers; and The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy to cure his alleged shyness.

What’s in the medicine cabinet?