I'm especially grateful to two authors today.

The first is Cherry Briggs, the author of the extraordinary travelogue about Sri Lanka that I'm editing this week. I only have three days to work on it, so I'm glued to my computer screen. But what a joy it is to read. Cherry followed in the footsteps of the forgotten Victorian Sir James Emerson Tennent, who was a good friend of Charles Dickens as well as being one of the colonial administrators of the island. The contemporary journey takes our intrepid young teacher through areas that had been war zones just a year before, and she immerses herself in local life to much entertaining effect. What a brilliant manuscript for a completely unknown writer to produce out of the blue. I foresee great things. The book will be called The Teardrop Island and comes out next June.

The other author is a chap who's written a book about his emigrating to Australia and sent it along for me to read. He writes: 'I know that these days if you have a job you are doing the work of two people, so I am happy to wait for your reply.' Bless you, Ross.

But I also owe some thanks today to the patient cartographer David McCutcheon who's been creating maps for a couple of other books I'm working on. He's gone through five drafts of each map in the last two days, I think. At the start of the week, I hadn't realised how many things there were to think about when putting a map together. It's been amazing watching them evolve.

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