As the result of a transatlantic parental romance, I was born in America and spent my formative years in central Virginia. I came to Oxford when I was eighteen, read and wrote for three years, then panicked when I realized I had to get a real job. After some dismal office work and some even more dismal waitressing, I now work at Heywood Hill bookshop in Mayfair. It’s been there since 1936 and we specialise in monthly book subscriptions tailored to your personal preferences; check it out.

I generally read anywhere between fourteen and twenty books a month (exceptional circumstances have resulted in much lower or higher figures in given months) and am aiming for 190 in 2018. Most of these fall somewhere on the spectrum of “literary fiction”; my genre reading tends to be on the literary end of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, occasional crime and horror, and narrative nonfiction. Favoured authors include (but are not limited to) Sarah Moss, Sarah Hall, Tana French, Tim Pears, China Mieville, Jeff VanderMeer, Jasper Fforde, Neal Stephenson, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Siri Hustvedt, Lucia Berlin, Anthony Trollope, Nicola Griffith, Jon McGregor, Elise Valmorbida, Richard Powers, Zadie Smith, A.S. Byatt, George Eliot, Francis Spufford, Ursula LeGuin, Olivia Laing. I used to write sporadically but enthusiastically for Litro Magazine. I’m currently in the process of submitting my first novel, Hungry Generations, to agents.

If you are a publicist: please read the above paragraph before asking me to read one of your books. If it is, for example, WWII romance or “politically incorrect” satire, it’s very unlikely that I will be interested. At the moment I am not accepting requests for reviews or blog tours. If there is something you think I might like to read, please send a hard copy to the shop address: FAO Eleanor, Heywood Hill Bookshop, 10 Curzon Street, London W1J 5HH.

You can follow me on Twitter here. If you’re a current or former Year in Books subscriber, or are interested in the subscription service, please use my professional email to get in touch: eleanor at heywoodhill dot com.

If you like what I write, why not buy me a coffee?


19 thoughts on “About

  1. Dearest Sonjia–I’ve added a thingie underneath the “Pages” list; there’s a Follow button you can click, and it should take you to a form where you can enter your email address. Thanks for mentioning it! ~E

  2. How awesome you have such an American influence. Between my mother being Mexican, having studied English and American literature at uni and growing up with sitcoms like Frasier, Friends, Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Everybody Loves Raymond and Fresh Prince I think it’s something I’ve had all through my life.

    • That’s cool–your mum’s Mexican? Did she come to the UK or did your parents meet elsewhere? Being a dual citizen is great fun, although Americans think I’m British and the British, of course, usually identify me as American (some go for Irish. I’ve also been asked if I’m a farmer–apparently the hard “r” sounds are sufficiently like a Gloucestershire twang…!)

      • They met in London by complete chance/fate. A pretty cool story really. No surprise I grew up a romantic and a lover of books. Being pale skinned and half Mexican does seem to baffle everyone. I’m really curious to hear your accent now…

  3. Hi! I’m so pleased to have found your blog. You read a variety of literary fiction; many that I have never heard about!

    And we’re on the same boat: graduated with a B.A. in English and now trying to trudge through life as a functional human being…

    Good luck with everything!

  4. Erik Von Norden says:

    Dear Elle:

    Apologies for posting publicly, but I did not see an e-mail listed. I enjoyed your blog, Elle Thinks, and would like to request a book review. You can check out a sample chapter, blog and bio at theoryofirony.com and/or contact me at theoryofirony1@gmail.com.


  5. So, you might be one of two kind of people–the kind who think these awards are stupid, or the kind who has received so many, they don’t even have time to think about them anymore. But if you’re the third kind (the kind who’s flattered by praise from strangers), I hope you’ll be happy to know that I nominated you for a One Lovely Blog Award.

    The link is here (https://dearlilyjune.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/raging-lovelies-on-the-occasion-that-you-need-early-lily-trivia/), but so you don’t think this is just shameful self-promotion for my own blog, I’ve also included what I wrote about you below (so you don’t feel forced to visit my page if you don’t want to!)

    Of your blog, I wrote:
    “Elle Thinks–Authors of the world, take note: The Pulitzer is outmoded. You should now all be competing for a good Elle review.”

    Stay lovely & whatnot, Alyssa

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