How To Be A Literary Genius by Jacqui Lofthouse

Book: How To Be A Literary Genius
Author: Jacqui Lofthouse
Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: Will write for shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley

Summary: Anna has convinced herself that she never wanted to write a novel, but a chance encounter with a famous novelist makes a mark on Anna’s resolve. Before she knows it, she has enrolled on a creative writing course, fallen for her tutor (despite being engaged) and is mixing with the literati. As she navigates the chaos that comes with her new life, will she manage to save her sanity before she becomes a by-product of the literary world?


 Hi everyone,

Hope you had lovely, book-filled weekends! I spent it reading Jacqui Lofthouse’s How To Be A Literary Genius. I was expecting a ‘how to’ or self-help type of book, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a novel.

The book follows author Anna as she decides to start writing her first novel, from the researching to the plot. There’s so much in there any aspiring author would definitely want to try, from a luxurious literary retreat in Greece, to getting the chance to go to the Groucho club and exchange ideas with your favourite authors.

The descriptions of the retreat in Greece made me get a serious case of wanderlust. Throw in books and authors everywhere and it basically became my idea of a perfect holiday (except maybe without the drama… but you’ll need to read it to find out what I’m talking about!). Jacqui’s writing is beautiful and descriptive, and she leaves just the right amount of gaps for the reader to fill in with their own imagination. For example, she describes the gorgeous  private writing rooms built into the mountainside, but we don’t really get an in-depth glimpse inside, which I liked because it meant you got to imagine your own ideal writing nook.

Although Anna is the main character, she wasn’t necessarily my favourite. I sometimes found her a bit selfish as she decides to write her novel and immediately happily drops everything around her. Yes dedication and passion are important, but I felt a bit like she sometimes she didn’t leave room for other meaningful things in life, like family and friends. Although there are points in the novel where she becomes very self-aware, sometimes it felt as though she immediately fell right back into her old habits.

One character I did absolutely love was Phyllis, Anna’s mother-in-law to be. Phyllis is both the nightmare mother-in-law (showing up uninvited, being quite intrusive, disregarding what people say when it’s not what she wants to hear), but she’s also the perfect mother-in-law, in her love for her son and her total acceptance of Anna into their family (for example worrying when she doesn’t come home). I loved her complicated relationship with Anna, as the two became quite close without necessarily realising it. Basically, she’s both confident and vulnerable, and brings a lot of comic relief in somewhat serious passages.

One issue I did have with the plot is that it’s a bit too fast paced at points, making it difficult to fully engage with the characters – sometimes character interactions seemed quite random. For example, Anna jumps from one love interest to another very swiftly, so it’s difficult to get attached and see it as a real romance. It would have also been nice to get a bit more background to her relationship with Will, as when their relationship deteriorated, it was difficult to care because we don’t really get to see them as a happy couple.

Overall, I think it’s definitely worth reading if you’re an aspiring author, or in the process of writing your novel/screenplay etc.

Also, I kind of loved the idea of an X-Factor type reality show of finding the next big author – it could be SUCH an amazing show, or totally awful. What do you think?

Hope you all have a lovely week – let me know what you’re reading!

Julie xx

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