Summer reads

I’ve just finished reading Nice Little Ernie, the Cyan Great Brand Stories book about Premium Bonds. It’s a great read, not just because I’m developing tone of voice for NS&I! And reminds me what an inspired series that was. Written by Mark Griffiths who worked alongside John Simmons who was, of course, the series editor. The holidays are the perfect time to catch up on John’s latest novel – Spanish Crossings – which everyone I meet is praising to the rafters.

Stuart Delves



The Alice Network

I’m excited to get lost in this historical gripper of a novel, The Alice Network by best-selling author Kate Quinn. Set in the French countryside and London the book takes place during WWI and just after WWII. It weaves a tale about the renown female spy network and decades later an American socialite searching for her long-lost cousin.

Elena Bowes


Anything is possible by Elizabeth Strout

She is such an accomplished writer, of show not tell, of pitch perfect dialogue, who understands the power of silence, and what people think versus what they say. When I read her, I feel like she has a profound understanding of the human condition. I finished this book last night and will read it again over the summer holidays this time with a pencil and notebook.

I will also be packing the new Paul Auster novel 4321, Anne Carson’s latest poetry collection, Float and Spanish Crossings by our very own John Simmons.

Alas, I will not be reading John’s novel in Spain but in a New Forest campsite but I’m hopeful it will whisk me away.

Elen Lewis


Small but perfectly formed

There’s something about the perfection of a small and perfectly formed thing. I would recommend Tessa Hadley’s Bad Dreams, which I’ve just finished, and Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress, which I’ve just started, and I’m looking forward to a previously unpublished collection of stories, A Tranquil Star, by one of my favourite writers in translation, Primo Levi.

Wendy Jones


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Astonishing subversion of the traditional western, with a pair of gay cowboy soldiers embroiled in violent soldier lives. Absolute tour de force in terms of tone of voice – it’s beautiful, lyrical, funny, tense.

The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carre. Stories from his life rather than a full autobiography, but he certainly knows how to tell a story. I love Le Carre, think he’s the most under-rated of English novelists.

John Simmons


The Other Hand

I’m reading Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand. A cautionary tale about a disastrous free holiday in Nigeria, and its consequences for two women living worlds apart. It has added piquancy for me as it’s partially set where I live in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Andy Hayes

Latest 26 Facebook

2 days ago

“Words are the clothes thoughts wear.” - Samuel Beckett

“Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.” - Anne Enright

“It's ... See more

4 days ago

“Sometimes one word can recall a whole span of life.” - Edna O'Brien

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw ... See more

« 1 of 23 »

Latest 26 images

Disused pub in Hoxton by Andy York
Photo by Lucy Beevor
Image by Tony Linkson
Found on the island of Giglio, Italy by Chris Bird.
26 Screenshot by Lara Muth
I live at number 26, and this is my bin!  Rebecca Thomas
Captured in Venice by Elen Lewis
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Spotted by Marin Lee at the Serpentine in Hyde Park
Spotted in Copenhagen by Helen MacKinven.
Spotted on the airfield of Tivat airport in Montenegro by Martin Lee
I took this picture in a fabulous vegan and raw food restaurant in Turin - Ezri Carlebach
Spotted in Capri by Laura Hunter
Woods near Jouqueviel, Midi-Pyrenees, 10 minutes after I had told my walking group about 26. They gave me a funny look. By David Mathews
Image by Ed Pritchard
Image by Lydia Thornley in Krakow
Spotted in Belfast by Jonathan Holt
From Christmas travels in Krakow by Lydia Thornley
Night time lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley
Daytime lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley