All items: environment

As a keen member of a Boy Scouts troop, Donny O’Rourke found an early outlet for his talents as a writer and composer. Here he reflects on what the movement meant to him.

Susan Fletcher explores the experience of outsiderhood, both physical and social, and its influence on her writing, and wonders whether readers, too, are increasingly recognising themselves in outsider protagonists.

Lucy Flannery describes how an idle moment on twitter led to her accidentally writing a novel, and how the process of doing so raised old demons about her right to be an author.

John Harrison describes his investigations into the earliest human societies, and what he looks for when he is on the trail of these ancient settlements.

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.

Linda Hoy reflects on the contribution made by Thoreau to present ideas about the natural world and the value of walking to mental and physical health.

Donny O’Rourke visits old haunts in Dumfries and the Borders, ghosted by the bards of Scotland’s past, for the liminal Celtic festival of Samhain.

Julian Turner considers the usefulness of imagination, not just to the writer, but also to the exile and the abused child, and suggests that metaphorical thinking may be psychologically essential.

Mimi Khalvati speaks with John Greening about losing her Persian origins in an Isle of Wight boarding school, the creative benefits of constrained poetic forms, the neglected role of abstraction in English poetry and why she co-founded the Poetry School.

Jonathan Tulloch takes us to a Cumbrian riverbank, circa 1983, for a picnic eagerly awaiting the end of the world at half past three (please pass the ham sandwiches.)

Mary Colson faces down the aimlessness and lack of purpose that takes hold when a book has been finished, but hasn’t yet found its place in the world.