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She was the Nazis’ pin-up, the Aryan sex symbol whose films fired up the SS. In this previously unpublished interview, Kristina Söderbaum talks about Hitler’s charm, shooting scenes as the Allies closed in – and being nicknamed the State Water Corpse. Read my article in the Guardian
Brunhilde Pomsel, una de las secretarias de Josef Goebbels, murió el pasado 27 de enero. La entrevisté en 1991 para una serie de televisión de la BBC sobre la propaganda cinematográfica nazi. En 2011, Bild publicó una entrevista “exclusiva” con ella, afirmando que era la primera vez que hablaba, desde la guerra, pero no lograron […]
Brunhilde Pomsel , l’un des secrétaires de Josef Goebbels, est morte le 27 janvier à 106 ans. Je l’avais interviewée en 1991 pour une série télévisée de la BBC sur la propagande cinématographique nazie. En 2011, le tabloïd Bild avait publié une entrevue «exclusive» d’elle, affirmant que c’était la première fois qu’elle parlait depuis la […]
Here’s my article in this week’s London Review of Books. And here it is again, with added photos. Or you could order the new book, The Black Page, Interviews with Nazi film-makers, with lots more interesting info, only £6.99. Currently at the printers, published 1 March 2017. Pre-order here: Buy it here. A last chance […]
Never-before published interviews with those at the heart of Goebbels’ propaganda machine – the Nazi Marilyn Monroe, Lilli Marlene’s composer, Leni Riefenstahl’s cameraman, Goebbels’ secretary Brunhilde Pomsel and many more. Buy it here. A last chance to hear from key figures from the Nazi film industry Wilfred von Oven: Press officer to Joseph Goebbels Marianne […]
Newly re-published as an e-book: Fallen Order: Intrigue, Heresy and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio. “As racy and full of machinations as The Name of the Rose… meticulously researched and beautifully written”, Guardian Buy it here In 1643, after a failure by the Church hierarchy to deal with child abuse scandals (paedophile priests) […]
A video about our Apple Day.
Here’s a short video featuring the Salopian Garden. Through most of 2016 I was busy creating this garden from wasteland. Every Thursday a team of offenders from the Community Payback scheme, along with a group of determined volunteers worked to clear brambles and rubbish, and then to build paths, cob oven, raised beds, decked polytunnel, […]
She flirted with Nazi officers but fell in love with the wrong man. A story of passion and difficult choices. New blog launched here.
Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans that will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden, edited by Niki Jabbour, a Canadian author and host of radio show The Weekend Gardener. She invited us to supply a plan for a kid’s food garden. And we did!
Today has been a strange and beautiful gardening day after an unpromising start. My mother’s dog, Boris, whom we are reluctantly housing for ten days while she is on holiday, woke us as usual at 6 AM with his rusty, needy bark, and the sound of slobber hitting the walls as he shook his […]
At the end of December, having some spare rhubarb crowns, we tiptoed out to the local library, where I had spotted an empty bed. We planted the crowns and slunk off. A few weeks later they were sprouting, but someone had pulled up two of the plants. So I stuck a little sign up, explaining […]
We’ve picked over a tonne of apples that would have gone to waste – and taught a load of kids about fruit and fun. The BBC came to film us – watch it here.
At last a chance to find out what the Venice Biennale is all about. Founded in 1895 and held on odd years, this is the leading contemporary art exhibition in the world (with architecture on the even years). This year marks the 55th, after various breaks for wars. Initially there were national pavilions, structured around […]
Hunting through the attic looking for something else I find a box of old documents from when I spent a while as a Nazi hunter in the early 1990s. I tracked down and interviewed several ageing Germans, and now I read through my notes with wonder. Brunhilde Pomsel, secretary to Goebbels; Hans-Otto Meissner, son of Hindenburg’s Secretary […]
Visit to Birkbeck’s BA in Creative Writing class to talk to students about the process of researching creative non-fiction. Listen to the podcast here
Went up to Buckingham Palace to collect my MBE. It felt like the coldest day of the year, and I was not wearing enough clothes! But it was a fun day. I managed one decent curtsey, and we’ll draw a polite veil over the second one …
Blue Lady Reading finally emerged from the kiln. Much bluer than I expected, and with a strange blue sock where I dipped her like Thetis in the Styx, and she duly came out of the glaze like Achilles with a duff heel. She’s engrossed in her book and unaware of the world around her. She was […]
The German edition of The Family Kitchen Garden – Mein Selbstversorger-Garten Monat für Monat – is a bestseller. Currently at number one in the gardening charts, and at number 312 in the overall book charts, it’s become the must-have for self-sufficiency nuts. Gratifying, and astonishing, since I find the cover somewhat odd. How cool would it […]
Well, blow me down with a feather… I got an MBE in the New Year’s Honours. And there was me feeling I was battling against the establishment, all unappreciated… And though it should have been for bull-shitting and shit-stirring, the actual citation reads “Services to Horticulture and Education”. Of course I couldn’t have done it without […]
The Letter in the Bottle is dramatised as The Bottle on the Shore on BBC Radio 4’s afternoon play. John Taylor from Fiction Factory has produced a moving, funny play based on the book. Click here for reviews of the original book and interviews with the author. Or take a look at the original letter and bottle. […]
The Letter in the Bottle has been dramatised as A Bottle on the Shore by John Taylor of The Fiction Factory. Transmitted as a BBC Radio 4 play on 11th December 2012. Starring Stella Gonet, Caroline Loncq and Anton Lesser. On a winter’s day in 2002 a bottle shaped like a tear washed up on a the Kent […]
Heard Rachel Johnson discussing her new novel on Radio 4. Winter Games tells the loosely fictionalised story of her mother-in-law who was sent to Germany as a deb in the 1930s. Basically “Debs Shagging Nazis” – as one of her characters points out. Rachel wrote a cover blurb for my last book: “I love a […]
Ghost stories ebook. Unexplained: Spine-tingling tales about real places in Britain and Ireland. Ghosts, castles, stone circles, saints, hauntings. UneXplained, originally published as a children’s book in a pre-ebook era has now been re-issued on Kindle. There are forty hair-raising and inexplicable stories from historical sites around England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland involving mysterious ghosts, battles, dead […]
A strange email arrives: could I send my address so that a proper invitation to the Women of the Year Lunch can be sent by post. How exciting! It was at least better-spelt spam than the usual dodgy offers. Slightly dubiously, I gave them my address, and then waited. I wondered who might have sent […]