Congratulations to Stef Penney who won the Costa award last night with her book The Tenderness of Wolves set in northern canada in 1860. Apparently because of agoraphobia she never managed to get to Canada but did all of the research in the British Library. According to quotes in the Guardian she said that she felt the landscape might have been more vivid because she had not been there. Add her comments to those made by Martin Amis in an Independent interview earlier this year about the fact he didn’t feel the need to visit Russia to write about it, and you can either take the stay at home authors as inspirational – cutting out travel costs and the need to learn different languages – or as a sad demise of the old fashioned research that some novelists go in for. Bearing in mind my personal finances I am taking it as an inspiration if I ever get round to writing a book.