Bestselling author Amanda Craig’s latest novel is a cracking read.

Set against the backdrop of the Tuscan hills, ‘The Three Graces may occasionally teeter on the brink of riotous but it is also witty, sharp-eyed and, in the end, ridiculously enjoyable,’ says Christobel Kent in the Guardian.

This comedy of manners features three elderly expat women – with four breasts, five eyes and three hip replacements between them – determined to make more than the best of things.

It includes a number of characters from previous novels. But it’s not necessary to have read those books to enjoy The Three Graces to the full.

Set around a wedding in Tuscany, the novel tackles prejudice and inequality with the author’s customary gusto and comic incisiveness.

Craig, who grew up in Italy and studied English at Cambridge, is known for her cycle of interconnected novels which deal with contemporary British society.  She is a leading proponent of the social novel, her multi-stranded approach compared to that of Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens.

Says Allison Pearson in The Sunday Telegraph: ‘She has everything you look for in a major writer: wit, indignation, an ear for the telling phrase and an unflagging attention to all the individual choices by which we define ourselves – where we stand as a society and how we decline and fall.’

In a recent interview in the Telegraph, Craig laments the devaluing of the arts in education and a publishing industry that increasingly favours the young.

‘I left my first agent 25 years ago because they told me, “we regard men as the prize winners and women as the cash cows”. I mean, good grief. And chick lit has been disastrous for women because if you were a female author it was assumed that would be all you would write. You weren’t allowed to be a serious novelist. For years, I had a reputation with publishers for being difficult over the covers of my books: if there was any trace of pink on them, I’d immediately say no.’

She is at BridLit on Friday 10 November at Bridport Arts Centre at 12 noon, where she will be in conversation with locally based writer Celia Brayfield, who will be giving her own talk at the Bull Hotel ballroom on Wednesday 8 November 2023 at 10.30am on Writing Black Beauty: Anna Sewell and the Story of Animal Rights.

Sewell grew up in Victorian London, permanently disabled from an early age fall. Rejecting the life of an invalid, she developed a remarkable empathy with horses.

Rebellious and independent minded, empowered by women writers, activists and abolitionists, she wrote Black Beauty, published after her death, which became a beacon for the animal welfare movement.