We’re halfway through December, and the relentless onwards opening of doors on our Advent Calendar is a constant reminder that there‘s not long to go until the 25th and that if we don’t get our presents sorted sharpish, we’ll actually have to leave Prime Writer Towers and go outside.
However, what do you buy the Bake-Off fan who already owns a full set of measuring spoons? The itchy-footed traveller who’s only stopped off for Christmas under severe pressure? The new partner you don’t know well enough to buy a present for at all but who’ll be right there at present opening time? The child who already owns all the Harry Potter books? And the teenager who’s absorbed everything that Patrick Ness has ever written and is ready for more? Or the current affairs addict who just wants to get back to the news?
Help is at hand in this Prime Writers’ easy guide to the hard-to-buy-for. And if you’re ultra-stuck, use our handy tool to select the perfect gift.
Delight your primary school child as Sarah Todd Taylor’s determined hero faces down the challenges of his school life in Arthur and Me. Broaden your teenager’s world with Christina Banach’s Minty, a YA story about grief, twinship and Roman mourning rituals, or take them to the cruel and despotic world of North Korea with Kerry Drewery’s YA novel A Dream of Lights (Kerry has recently signed a three book deal with Hot Key books, so introduce her now and have next Christmas sorted in advance).
Push the YA envelope with an adult novel: Antonia Honeywell’s The Ship, Sarah Jasmon’s The Summer of Secrets and Claire Fuller’s Desmond Elliot award-winning Our Endless Numbered Days feature young protagonists questioning and challenging the worlds in which they find themselves. Or go to the other end of the scale with Cari Rosen’s The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43¼).
There’s a twisted streak in most of us – appeal to it with Beth Miller’s The Good Neighbour, Fionnuala Kearney’s You, Me and Other People or Alison Layland’s Someone Else’s Conflict. Any one who every had an imaginary friend will identify with Fleur Smithwick’s How To Make a Friend. The man in the red coat would also do well to include a copy of Kate Hamer’s Costa-shortlisted The Girl in the Red Coat in any darker-hued Christmas stockings. Terry Stiastny’s Acts of Omission and Tim Finch’s The House of Journalists would be excellent choices for anyone interested in current affairs.
On a lighter note, channel the natural pairing of Christmas and food with Sarah Vaughan’s The Art of Baking Blind, or Martine Bailey’s An Appetite for Violets and her delicious follow up, The Penny Heart. Give the gift of laughter to an ordinary joe with Jon Teckman’s comedy Ordinary Joe, or to a regular commuter with Dominic Utton’s Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time, or to a parent with Kerry Fisher’s The School Gate Survival Guide and Shelley Harris’ Vigilante. If Christmas threatens family squalls, sweep your relatives into the heart of life-changing fictional storms whipped up by Jane Lythell in After the Storm, or the Richard and Judy favourite by Vanessa Lafaye, Summertime.
And if the present is all too much (pun intentional), send your friends and relatives into the past with Rebecca Mascull’s enchanting Song of the Sea Maid, S.D. Sykes’ medieval thriller The Butcher Bird, or Juliet West’s heartrending Before the Fall. Dinah Jefferies’ Sunday Times bestseller The Tea Planter’s Wife will take you to colonial Ceylon, whilst Jo Bloom’s Ridley Road explores the London of the Sixties. Alternatively, take a trip into an alternative future with Graeme Shimmin’s rollercoaster thriller, A Kill in the Morning.
To make life even easier, we’ve come up with an easy way to choose the right book for those hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives. Click here to start choosing!
Happy Christmas, and God bless us, every one.