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'James Baldwin's books weren't just about being black or gay. They were about being human, and what has to be understood, reconciled, challenged, acquired and achieved in order for a person to retain their humanity.'

In the second instalment of 'My Hero', we hear from a number of RLF writers about their personal heroes, and how those heroes have had an impact on their lives and their writing.

'Looking back, I think I always had my guard up. Most of my school friends were white; I'm black, and so the experiences I had at home were very different to the ones they had. As early on as primary school, I learned not to share so openly.'
'With Tales From The Caribbean, my writing day was broken up into researching and summarising the stories. Before I could even begin to create my own versions, I had to study the form and get to the heart. '
'Reality, as defined by novelists, seemed to consist of being of a certain class in a certain city, experiencing certain emotions and situations. It didn't feel like my reality, which was highly uncertain.'
Patricia Cumper explains how she got started as a radio writer, and single-handedly wrote a Jamaican radio soap with unexpected reach.
'This fundamental change in the way books are published gives both author and reader far more influence in the industry. The classics of tomorrow will come from a range containing literature previously considered commercially unviable.'
'I was influenced by Ntozake Shange's seamless style and the choral element in Ted Hughes' Oedipus. Not long after that I began to read a lot of books by black American women authors.'
Aisha Zia explains how she moved from image editor to playwright, and how she came to be involved with site-specific, community-based theatre.
Art forms often have similarities based on discipline and structure; an anecdotal look at comparisons between poetry and music by a practitioner of both.

Roopa Farooki speaks with Jane Draycott about writing of deception within families, the monster hiding in us all, embellishing the story of her father’s ‘astonishing and wayward life’ and the importance of diverse characters in writing for young people.

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