All items: biography

When Sue Roe decided to write a group biography about the French Impressionists, she little realised what a challenge it would be, involving her in hundreds of hours of research and cross-checking of information about her ten famous subjects; she was inspired to visit the places where they lived and worked.

Wendy Moore speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about the loss of diversity and career opportunities in journalism, historical characters who demand to be written about, and her motivation to find parallels between the past and the present.

Mark McCrum speaks with James McConnachie about his long term background efforts in fiction, his experiences with self-publishing and how to do it properly, finding success in genre fiction and his openness to whatever comes next.

Claire Harman speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the painstaking, and sometimes obsessive art of literary biography, and how careful detective work can bring new insights into even the most written-about lives.

Mark McCrum speaks with James McConnachie about how he came to take up ghostwriting, its similarities with travel writing, the drama of being the official documenter of the troubled Castaway TV series in 2000, and the challenge of Robbie Williams versus impending deadlines.

In ‘My Hero', we talk to a number of RLF writers about their personal heroes, and how those heroes have had an impact on their lives and their writing.

Being able to spend three years in the company of extraordinary characters such as Ian Fleming, Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins has been more than a privilege, it has helped make me who I am.

James McConnachie looks back on the gender bifurcation of childhood reading - and reminds us not to underestimate the gender-transcending power of the empathetic imagination.

Mark McCrum leads us into the strange world of the ghost writer, whose perilous path encounters both too little and too much material, and where the famous subjects of ghost-written autobiographies can co-operate or not.