All items: Frantz Kafka

In an increasingly homogenised and uniform world rare and distinctive voices are especially needful. Sometimes those voices may be complex, difficult, troubling, but who wants to read a bland book?
Style and form are all find and dandy, I'm sure they do wonders for my poor old brain, but sometimes I hanker after a good story. Luckily there are plenty of them about, and some happen to be beautifully written too.
Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me.
Writer’s block can be a dark tunnel where ideas, characters, plotlines and creative invention fade in the blackness. There are strategies to help break or lessen this curse which could be usefully applied to any form of writing.

Jonny Wright considers the sobering parallels between the 1959 play A Raisin In The Sun, featuring a black family in Southside Chicago, and the racial inequality, downward economic mobility and defacto housing segregation of contemporary London.

Kerry Young describes her journey from failing 'O'-level English to becoming a successful novelist, and how her writing is a gift both to her late father and to the diverse cultures that have produced contemporary Jamaica.

Letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings… writers have always found inspiration in ephemera. Some have carried hoarding to excess, as Nicolette Jones explains.

Ray French speaks with Frances Byrnes about his roots in Wales and the Irish diaspora, and how other writers’ voices can help new writers find their own.