Welcome to House With No Name. I write about everything from books and films to education, family and France.

Polly Stenham’s new play

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 20th July 2014

As the National Theatre production of Hotel drew to a close the audience sat ramrod still. The stage was littered with fake blood, furniture was strewn all over the shop and smoke billowed out of a fake fire. Polly Stenham’s new 80-minute play is so startling and thought provoking that once the actors had departed the stage I stayed in my seat for ten more minutes, chatting to the woman sitting ...keep reading

Friday book review – A Place For Us

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 18th July 2014

New ideas are spinning out of the publishing world at lightning speed. This week David Mitchell (of Cloud Atlas fame) has taken the Twittersphere by storm by releasing a short story called The Right Sort in 280 tweets. Meanwhile Headline Review has decided to serialise Harriet Evans’s new novel, A Place For Us, in four exclusive parts. The first instalment will be out on July 31, with the second, third and ...keep reading

Friday book review – The Wrong Knickers

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 11th July 2014

Daily Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon makes me feel very old. Why? Because a scarily long time ago I used to sit next to her mum, Jane Gordon, at the daily newspaper where we both worked. Jane was inordinately proud of her two young daughters, Bryony and Naomi, and used to regale us with stories about them. Countless years later, the little girl I remember as a seven-year-old is a successful journalist herself. Bryony ...keep reading

Three cheers for ChipLitFest

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 8th July 2014

The Chipping Norton Literary Festival is hands-down my favourite lit fest of the year. It’s only been running for three years but it’s the friendliest, most innovative, most inspiring celebration of books that I’ve come across. I ran a freelance journalism workshop the first year and was so hooked by the festival’s buzzing atmosphere that I’ve been back every year since. I’ve heard everyone from Nicci French (pictured), Mark Billingham ...keep reading

Friday book review – A Modern Way to Eat

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 4th July 2014

“Though I cook for a living, I am also pretty impatient and want my dinner on the table in less than half an hour most nights.” Those are Anna Jones’s refreshing words at the start of her gorgeous new vegetarian cookery book, A Modern Way to Eat. I’ve got a million cookbooks already (I’m addicted to them in the same way I loved comics as a child) and as soon as ...keep reading

Waiting for the Tour de France

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 2nd July 2014

Forget the World Cup and Wimbledon, there’s a far more exciting event on the sporting horizon. What is it? The Tour de France of course. This year’s Tour kicks off in Leeds on Saturday. It’s only the second time in the event’s 111-year history that it’s started in the UK and it’s going to be big. Around three million spectators are expected to line the route, Bettys, cake makers par excellence, ...keep reading

Friday book review – Her by Harriet Lane

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 27th June 2014

Second novels are notoriously difficult to write. Novelists pour their heart and soul into their debut books, often taking years to complete them, then panic at the thought of having to do it all over again. But Harriet Lane‘s second novel doesn’t read like that at all. Her is so beautifully written, so fluent, so beguiling, that I suspect the words flowed out of her head and straight on to the ...keep reading

Bill Bryson and the art of curiosity

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 19th June 2014

Bill Bryson is one of my heroes. He writes like a dream, explains complicated stuff in the most entertaining way and seems like an all-round lovely man. I never drive through the Yorkshire Dales without thinking of the “Malhamdale wave” he described in Notes from a Small Island. We lived in North Yorkshire for three years and while everyone was incredibly welcoming I knew we’d have to live there for at ...keep reading

Friday book review – Thursday’s Children by Nicci French

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 13th June 2014

I’ve been hooked on Nicci French’s Frieda Klein novels since the first one was hot off the press back in 2011. Why? Because when it comes to crime fiction, Frieda stands out from the crowd. She’s a complex loner who has a tricky relationship with her family, a tricky relationship with her lover, a tricky relationship with the police and well, a tricky relationship with virtually everyone. She also has a ...keep reading

Virtuoso concert by Natalie Clein

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 8th June 2014

Blue skies, a blissful country house setting and a virtuoso performance by a world renowned cellist. You can’t get much better than that. And luckily for an audience of around 100 people, that was the treat in store at Encombe House in Dorset on a sunny June morning. The walk from Kingston to Swyre Head, past Encombe, is one of my all-time favourite walks. My family did it every Boxing ...keep reading

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