Last chance to book for the Dorset Literary Salon with John Ironmonger!


Last chance to book tickets for the first Dorset Literary Salon!
Date: Thursday 23 April 2015
Time: 19:30 – 22:00
Venue: Symondsbury Manor, Bridport
Included: Hard copy book, cocktail upon arrival, light supper and wine
The Dorset Literary Salon is nomadic and hosted by the internationally best-selling author and screenwriter, Natasha Solomons. The Dorset Literary Salon seeks out unusual and intimate venues as the backdrop to in-depth discussions with authors about their books. There will be cocktails inspired by the novel, excellent wine and the food will either be a simple affair or inspirited by the setting of the novel or the storyline. Each event aims to be unique and entirely dedicated to the author and their work. It also places the participants in a very special situation providing time and proximity. You will receive a hard back copy of the book to read in advance, which you are welcome to bring with you to be signed by the author.
You can click here to find out more about the evening and to book your ticket. Please note that there is a limited number of seats available for this event so do be quick in booking your ticket!
Natasha and Ashley
Dorset Literary Salon


The Dorset Literary Salon!


There are still a few tickets left for our very first salon featuring the fantastic John Ironmonger in the gorgeous environs of Symondsbury Manor near Bridport.

Our launch event will feature me in discussion with John Ironmonger talking about his fabulous new book. Tickets are £22.50 and include a cocktail, a hardback book of John’s novel, charcuterie and cheese platters and wine.

Intimate, funny and deeply moving, John Ironmonger’s Not Forgetting the Whale is the story of a man on a journey to find a place he can call home.

Please email: for tickets and further info.


David Hockney; Lucian Freud

David Hockney; Lucian Freud by David Dawson, 2003 © David Dawson Search for this portrait on the Portrait Explorer in the Digital Space, NPG P1001.

David Hockney; Lucian Freud by David Dawson, 2003 © David Dawson
Search for this portrait on the Portrait Explorer in the Digital Space, NPG P1001.

I particularly like this photograph of the two iconic painters.  We see Lucian Freud’s unkempt studio – paint-dashed floor and walls and we are coming in at the end of the story. Presumably Freud has spent months capturing Hockney. In the photograph Hockney plays the role of muse, while Freud lingers in the doorway clutching his brushes, his overalls – like chef’s whites – dabbed in yet more paint. Freud is in motion, while Hockney gazes out at us. Most of all, I like the double image of Hockney: the real man beside his portrait. Yet, there is another frame: that of the photograph itself. So, really this photograph is a Russian doll series of nested portraits, one inside the other, and it tells a multitude of stories. There is something deliciously novelistic about that.

My novel is structured like a gallery catalogue, each chapter containing a different portrait of Juliet but it’s not simply the painting of Juliet that tells the story, it’s also the process of painting and how it reveals the relationship between the artist and sitter. That’s what I particularly admire about all these portraits – we’re allowed to peek into the artistic process: they are paintings about what it’s really like to be painted.