Laura Hird speaks with Geoff Hattersley about her beginnings as a writer of bleak and gritty short stories, the real reason her first novel was written in four different voices, and how she gave her mother a literary afterlife in ‘Dear Laura’.
Literary festivals are sprouting all over the UK, from Dartington to Althorp. But do visitors roll up for the literature, or the seafood wraps? And why is the whole phenomenon run on shoestring economics, with the writers themselves the last to be paid? Mark McCrum reflects on the festival vogue, and says it may be time for a new touring model.