Nicholas Murray and our host Julia Copus discuss two favourite classic poems, ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell and ‘The Sun Rising’ by John Donne, in another instalment of our special ‘Poetry Break’ series.
Stephen Wyatt takes us to an unusual destination: the Gallifrey One convention, where participants are enthusiastic, oddly dressed, and gratifyingly appreciative of his own 30-year-old TV script.
Doug Johnstone reminds us that no completed novel lives up to what its creator initially imagined, and explains how a complete failure three books in led him to find his true writing voice.
Ali Knight explores the murky depths of the Grand Union Canal in Londonand explains how it inspires her crime fiction.
John Greening takes us to the poetic village of Little Gidding and its nearby literary landmarks.
Miranda Miller introduces us to Henry James’ Lamb House in Rye and its connections with various writers.
Paula Byrne speaks with James McConnachie about the tragic fates of two lesser-known Kennedy siblings, doing meticulous scholarly research and yet publishing accessible books, moving into writing fiction, and investigating the psychological health benefits of reading with ReLit.
In ‘Writing vs Life: On Balance’, we talk to a number of RLF writers about the challenges of balancing writing against other aspects of their lives, how to stay grounded, and whether it’s ok for artists to be selfish.
Pascale Petit recounts how the sudden re-emergence of her long-absent father triggered both a sense that she’d discovered the material for her new book, but also a complete inability to write it.
Penny Hancock explains how a professional setback and a series of personal losses led her to decide to give up writing completely - and how the unusual life story of an elderly relative provided two kinds of inspiration for starting again.
Kathleen Jones revisits the remote hill farm she grew up on in Cumbria, and the landscape that shaped her.
Catherine O'Flynn explores the hidden spaces of Merry Hill, the suburban shopping centre where she used to work.
Doug Johnstone ponders his adopted city of Edinburgh, a literary capital that he was nervous of using as a setting for his novels.
In ‘Writing vs Life: The Pram in the Hall’, we talk to a number of RLF writers about the challenges of balancing parenthood and a professional writing career, and whether mothers and fathers still have differing experiences in this area.
Amanda Mitchison shares the ways she’s entwined with Scottish history, and how one of Scotland’s great historical outrages reached through time to shape the course of her novel.
Lucy Moore explores the challenges of choosing a subject, the dangers of identifying too closely, and how she looks for stories that both allure her and also urgently need telling.
Judy Brown considers how two decades spent as a practising lawyer have impacted her experiences and processes of writing, and considers the parallels and contrasts between the law and poetry.
Martina Evans considers her unlikely literary beginnings as the youngest of ten in a County Cork family: ‘I was known as a dreamer, a fumbler, a fool; if I was so busy dreaming, how did I notice so many things? My family asked this question too, even then.’
Ruth Thomas explains how the publishing industry went cool on her genre, and how a 60p discovery at a charity book fair helped her regain her mission and extend her range.
Mimi Thebo considers the myriad ways writers can fail, and describes how she came back from failure, and before that, from something even more serious.
Catherine O’Flynn dissects her enthusiasm for failed utopias, such as the ghost real estate ventures of the Spanish Riviera, and the influence of growing up surrounded by the 'bizarre and melancholy landscaped public spaces' of Birmingham.
Siân Rees takes us to Asunción in Paraguay, where magical realism makes sense and ghosts haunt the landscape and the imagination.
Cherise Saywell describes how an unexpected writing career descended into paralysis, and how a short and anonymously-published piece helped her to reconnect with what she loves about writing.
Cynthia Rogerson explains how escaping to a weekly writing group turned her from a frustrated mother-of-many to a fledgling novelist, who discovered that as far as family went, ‘it was extraordinary how happy we all were just suiting ourselves’.
Diana Evans takes us to a writer’s retreat in upstate New York, where she considers how race is a theme that seems imposed on black writers, obligating them to rage against racial injustice. Her characters, she says, have the right to be human first, 'to be ordinary.'
Cynan Jones considers place and authenticity in the storytelling process. 'Risk being unique or aim for palatable? That’s the choice, in writing as in wine-making.'
Jonathan Tulloch, in his final seasonal piece of the series, revisits a child’s Christmas in Cumbria, with a stray appearance of Saxon the family dog, a big black bible plucked from a Dylan Thomas sky, and an orange bulging in a rugby sock like an anaconda’s meal.
Marina Benjamin examines the changing role of the personal voice in contemporary memoir, celebrates the sharing of ecstatic highs and vertiginous tumbles, and notes that it’s writerly craft that lifts a work beyond mere self-pimping.
Alyson Hallett takes us to Launceston in Cornwall, home of the writer Charles Causley, in the centenary year of his birth.
Jonny Wright considers the sobering parallels between the 1959 play A Raisin In The Sun, featuring a black family in Southside Chicago, and the racial inequality, downward economic mobility and defacto housing segregation of contemporary London.
Kerry Young describes her journey from failing 'O'-level English to becoming a successful novelist, and how her writing is a gift both to her late father and to the diverse cultures that have produced contemporary Jamaica.
Charles Boyle considers the range of circumstances that make writers stop writing, sometimes forever, and why this can be an amicable separation.
Kevin Clarke shares a cautionary tale about deliberate plagiarism in the screen-writing industries - an issue he has had to contend with not once, but at least five times.
John Keay explains why writing a foreign nation’s history is no more presumptuous than writing about Picts and Scots, and shares his enthusiasm for RH Tawney, a man who was ‘more history writer than historian’.
Tobias Jones considers, as both reader and writer, the fascination of the true crime genre, and the profound truths with which it can connect us.
Jonathan Tulloch shares the second of his gustatory delights, the heterogeneous cakes of summer, from the societal nuances of home-baked vs. shop-bought to the unfairness of selective corpulence and his granddad’s final Victoria Sandwich.
Cynthia Rogerson contemplates the literary spurs of exile and outsiderhood, wonders whether she would have written any novels if she’d simply stayed at home in the USA, and explains why being a writer is easier in Scotland than in California.
Brian McAvera considers what we’ve lost in favouring naturalistic, TV-esque theatre over the wider and deeper possibilities offered by non-naturalism.
Rahila Gupta tells George Miller: 'I have a British passport but I’ve always felt like an immigrant'. Their conversation explores the background to that statement, touching on some of the political causes that Rahila has been involved with and how her writing has served those causes.
Roopa Farooki explores what it’s like to be brown when all your childhood literary heroes are white, and explains why representation matters if we want to draw more children into reading.
Ray French considers his Irish roots and adopted British identity, and how, in writing about the Irish experience in Britain, he inhabits ‘that fascinating space between home and exile.’
MIranda Miller works to finish a novel, visits an exhibition related to an old one, and considers whether she wants to ‘be a brand’ in the brave new world of 21st century publishing, in her audio diary.
We also feature two recent pieces from the Vox section of our website, 'Letter to my younger self', from John Greening and Mary Colson.
Julia Copus is joined by poets Debjani Chatterjee, Basir Kazmi and Mimi Khalvati, to explore the long history and contemporary pleasures of the ghazal.
Is writing a ruthless business? How much honesty is too much? Should you mine your own life for stories? RLF writers explore this literary quandary in 'The Splinter of Ice'.
The RLF takes an inside look at how writers navigate the shoals of literary genre, and how they really see themselves — despite what those book blurbs might say.
The RLF provides an inside look at the diverse and surprising ways in which contemporary writers support themselves beyond their writing lives.
Marcy Kahan shares an exciting writing week with us in this nightly audio diary.
Babs Horton, Neil Hanson, Esther Selsdon, Philip Caveney, Susan Price and David Spencer tell us about why they write, as featured in the Vox section of the RLF’s Showcase.