Melanie Kelly is the Research Director at Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. She project-managed activities within the Great Reading Adventure, Brunel200, BAC100 and Bristol 2014, and continues to manage our publications and other learning resources.

Mel Kelly

Outside of work I rarely read non-fiction. My favourite genre is crime fiction and among my favourite authors is Elmore Leonard, whose novel Get Shorty was published 30 years ago. An article by Dennis Lehane in the Guardian in March perfectly captures what is about Leonard that makes me such a fan. Lehane is one of a group of modern American crime writers I like who were part of the writing team on The Wire.

I’ve enjoyed reading my way through the British Library Crime Classics. The latest one in the series I finished was Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert, an intriguing whodunit set in a World War Two POW camp that turns into a tense mass-escape plot. Gilbert drew upon his own experience of escaping from a camp in northern Italy around the time of the Italian surrender and embarking on a 500-mile journey south to reach the Allied lines.

I’m currently reading They Knew Mr Knight by Dorothy Whipple, published by Persephone, which, along with Virago Modern Classics, has provided an opportunity to discover some interesting new-to-me authors and books. The previous Whipple book I read was They Were Sisters, one of a number of older novels I’ve been inspired to search for having seen a good screen adaptation on Talking Pictures, the channel I most often watch.

I only read physical books, never e-ones, as I think I already spend too long looking at screens. Most are obtained from branches of the excellent Libraries West service or local charity shops. I’m looking forward to a time when I can once again browse book-shelves other than my own.

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