As a freelance journalist, writer, editor and presenter, I have enjoyed many years meeting and interviewing fascinating people, and visiting wonderful locations worldwide.

I regularly conduct on-stage interviews with authors and personalities at festivals and events, and for more than 10 years co-hosted a monthly on air book club with Lesley Dolphin at BBC Radio Suffolk.

Details of my events, book reviews and recommendations can be found on my website and all the latest information is available in my weekly e-newsletter which you can receive by signing up here or read recent issues here.

Or follow me on Twitter @catherinelarner

In the press

Magazine cover pagesAs a journalist I contribute lifestyle features and profiles for regional and national newspapers and magazines. As the former editor of the leading business journal for the fitness industry in Europe, I regularly contributed articles about the market for a US publication.

published articles

On the radio

For more than 10 years I've co-hosted an on-air book club on BBC Radio Suffolk with Lesley Dolphin. Listen to past book club discussions here.

In addition, my print articles and author interviews often feature as podcasts. You can listen to a recent interview with former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams for Premier Radio here.

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At events

Hosting book launches and talks for festivals and events throughout Suffolk, I regularly interview authors on stage with audiences from 30 to 300. In the past year I have been in conversation with Esther Freud, Salley Vickers, Simon Garfield, Susie Dent, Melissa Harrison and Elly Griffiths.

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Recent articles

in 'Suffolk', February 2024
It's the most important question for Lee Child, creator of the ever-popular Jack Reacher novels, film and TV series. He may get some answers this month as he e-meets his audience in the Suffolk Libraries Online Book Festival
in 'Suffolk', February 2024
As a home help Dora Brown is a tour de force, a made-up person making a real impact that goes way beyond a basic clean and tidy-up
in 'East Anglian Daily Times', January 2024
It's the most important question for Lee Child, creator of the ever-popular Jack Reacher novels, film and TV series. This article first appeared in the February issue of Suffolk magazine.
in 'Shetland Wool Adventures Journal', January 2024
Mati applied for one of the National Trust properties in Fair Isle but she didn't feel she had any transferrable skills for remote island life.
in 'Shetland Wool Adventures Journal', January 2024
The renowned printmaker Angela Harding's creative journey unfolds in the captivating landscapes of the British Isles, including a recent residency in Fair Isle.
in 'Suffolk', January 2024
In a modest building on the quay at Woodbridge, a small team of volunteers and apprentices is carving a new chapter in the Sutton Hoo story.

Getting the message right

The end of the month is nigh so this is a reminder for the Woodbridge Book Group. If you are planning to come along for our delayed first meeting of the year on Monday 26 February, please reply to this email and I'll confirm the details (it's been a while since we were last together!).

We'll be discussing 'Transcendent Kingdom' by Yaa Gyasi and it'll be interesting to see whether we agree with the praise quotes listed on the cover - it 'really sings', 'a novel for all times', 'absolutely transcendent'. They're not really telling us much are they?

Often, though, we've found that the blurbs on the back cover or the quotes on the front have left us at best puzzled and at worst misled! We rarely have the same sense of humour as the people championing a book, for example.

There was a great article about blurbs, reviews and praise quotes written by Helen Lewis for The Atlantic recently, an extract printed in The Week. 

She claims 'blurbs have always been controversial - too clichéd, too subject to cronyism - but lately, as review space shrinks and the noise level of the marketplace increases, the pursuit of ever more fawning praise from luminaries has become absurd'.

Every book is important, it seems, or 'electrifying, essential, profound, a masterpiece, vital, compelling, revelatory, myth-busting, masterful, elegantly written, brave, lucid and engaging, indispensable, enlightening, courageous, powerful'. (While I rarely use many of these words, it makes me a little self-conscious in posting my reviews after reading this article!).

Because there are far fewer pages dedicated to serious and considered book reviews in our newspapers, publishers look to celebrities and established writers to endorse new titles (who do so in the hope and expectation that the praise will be reciprocated!?). And this mainly to reach booksellers and online promotions - they're not really thinking about the ordinary reader, it seems. 

Though it's tempting to think this is yet another example of life today being topsy turvy, we should be mindful of good old George Orwell. Apparently he agreed with his friend and fellow writer Cyril Connolly that they would 'gush' about each other's new books. "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," he wrote, apparently. And for other examples of historic puff quotes, and much more, Helen Lewis suggests we look to a study about book marketing, called 'Blurb Your Enthusiasm' by Louise Wilder. I'll add it to my list...

Thank you for reading.

More about books

Catherine LarnerFor my book reviews, event information and blog, please visit