We had a fabulous evening in Framlingham with nature writer Matt Gaw last week. At the end of a warm, sunny spring day, it felt very special to gather together, with glass in hand, to listen to his impassioned, entertaining and informative take on our natural world.

Matt has written three books now, about our rivers, the night sky, and this one on the weather. His writing beautifully melds memoir with observation and information, and we all came away inspired and uplifted, and determined to appreciate the downpours which inevitably followed the next day! 

But Matt's next project will be a novel, he says. And another nature writer, also at the event, revealed that this is what she is working on too.

Having met a journalist earlier in the week who had explained that she had chosen fiction rather than a biography to present her discovery about little known musicians in 17th century Italy, I was forced to ponder.

It's clear that fiction today usually reaches a larger audience, so the rewards financially and creatively are greater for the author. Meanwhile for the reader, novels help us to empathise and even, on occasion, change our minds about complicated issues, or appreciate new facts and scenarios, introducing us to people, places, histories and messages which we may not have found ourselves naturally drawn towards.

But has it become too easy to dismiss, overlook or disregard the serious handling of subjects today. Are we equipped to handle the facts?

We're only too aware of fake news and AI (and see below Danny Wallace's new book about conspiracy theories). We are being challenged all the time in interpreting the information being presented to us. If we know where and how we can establish the truth, we have nothing to fear but we do need to have time to learn, to investigate, to interrogate. Perhaps that's the key - finding time.

So in this long weekend, I plan to do some 'serious' reading! I have a particular project in mind but have been distracted by easier, quicker, more entertaining reading. Tomorrow, though, I'm going to find myself a sunny corner in the garden (or under a blanket by the fire, depending on the weather), pour a cup of tea and, with pen and notebook in hand, I'm going to study! I'll let you know how I get on...

Thank you for reading.