The book is out now. We had a very enjoyable launch at the Ilkley Literature Festival, which is gradually catching up with Hay-on-Wye. I keep working at The Guardian to transfer, or at least share, its sponsorship. Ian Jack and Lucy Mangan were great debaters, along with Helen Cross, whose novel My Summer of Love gets a mention in True North as an example of modern fiction which recognises the presence of the Northern middle class and does not present it in cliched terms. She is keeping busy in a properly Northern way: two more novels since My Summer of Love, which was also filmed successfully. I bought the latest, Spilt Milk, Black Coffee, and am much enjoying its portrayal of white and Muslim Yorkshire communities. No cliches, again.
Sorry not to have added to the bibliography lately. Publication means a busy search for publicity and I probably won't have time to update for a day or two. I had a fun outing on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, debating the North-South issue with Arthur Smith. It was the last item, which seems to stick in the mind, judging by subsequent comments from all sorts of bods. Mind you, it wasn't as good as the next day's, which featured Jeffrey Archer on his rewriting of one of his novels. Talk about Arnold Bennett's The Card... Still, when Arthur talked about London's streets being paved with gold, I managed to counter that they - or at least Regent Street from Broadcasting House to Oxford Circus - are actually paved with Huddersfield's finest stone. I did a piece some years ago on the quarry from which it came. I met a producer the following day at the new BBC North in Media City at Salford Quays and she said that she and her colleagues were all examining the paving stones, as I urged people to do. They are beautiful - swirls of brown, grey and caramel. Part of the South which is for ever North, because West Yorkshire sandstone lasts for a very long time.