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Clare Chambers speaks with Ann Morgan about the experience of having a breakout success, the secret to creating convincing historical settings, the disruptive influence of mobile phones on storytelling and the importance of balancing pessimism and optimism in a writing career.

Writing for emotional survival is familiar; writing for physical survival less so. Yet the physical act of writing raised Sara Coleridge from her sickbed, reassures Hilary Mantel, comforts Laura Hillenbrand and, during a recent medical crisis, kept Katharine Grant ‘threaded to the world’. Never mind words, the act of writing is medicine.
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