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Gerry Cambridge on the life-altering discovery that shaped his writing career and the value of a well-selected poetry anthology.
Brian McCabe recalls the early influences that inspired him to become a writer and remembers the unconventional teacher who encouraged his first outing as a poet.
'Does any writer, in fact, work well to a background of distraction? His son's violin practice drove Philip Pullman to the shed at the bottom of the garden; Virginia Woolf insisted her shed be free of any adornment.'
Jonathan Edwards recalls his time as writer in residence at Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, examines how the poet’s work changed over his lifetime, and explains why Thomas remains his most treasured literary inspiration.
'We came home and settled in Cambridgeshire, or what I still think of as 'Huntingdonshire'. In fact, this largely imaginary shire has become the perfect place for me to write in.'
'The list of Important Books That I Haven't Read is not as long as it was, but I'm now virtually guilt-free about not reading many of them, and I feel no guilt at reading so-called 'airport thrillers'.'
09-04-2020

Cynthia Rogerson takes us on a wry and rueful whistlestop tour of the perils, pleasures and pitfalls of the writing life, for both writers and those who have to put up with them.

Anna Reynolds encounters a perplexing dilemma when an ostensible writing necessity, the ‘room of one’s own’, becomes an obstacle to progress instead of a creative oasis.

'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. '
'A poet who does not figure in my childhood anthology but who has become very important for me in adulthood is Emily Dickinson. If Dylan Thomas introduces you to intoxication, Dickinson shows you how to distill it.'
'When I first heard a poet read, in a chemistry laboratory at Newcastle University, he was Ted Hughes; his gruff Yorkshire voice threw me onto a frosty moor. I could see horses. Hear horizons.'
Are writers mad — or only very sane? Horatio Clare reflects on this conundrum, with relation to his own experience of mental illness.
When he came to move house, Roy Bainton was faced with the painful necessity of having to get rid of hundreds of well-loved books. But how to decide which should stay and which should go?
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