I've been poorly this week and suddenly I've become very aware of my body, each twinge, each growl, each grumble. For someone who lives so much in her head, this is an odd sensation. Normally my body just gets on with its job of carrying my mind around. This week, it decided not to, and I was non-plussed.

Scarborough has just hosted its annual literature festival ( I went to an event hosted by Amnesty International to hear Rouhi Shafi, an Iranian writer, speak. It was sobering to be reminded that I may feel sharply stabbed when people unfairly criticise or - more often - ignore my writing, but, in reality, my life is not in danger. Unlike writers from countries across the world who risk harassment, imprisonment, torture and death by expressing themselves. The pen is indeed mighty and feared by governments of many persuasions.