All items: George Mackay Brown

A change of place, finding a new muse, pausing on a London bridge, all can stimulate the writer's imagination again, says John Greening. From a sexual potency operation for W.B.Yeats, to Clive James’ terminal illness, there are many ways to trigger inspiration.
As a former member of a rock band who has also been a music journalist, Doug Johnstone has always felt that music was essential to his writing. Here he considers other writers who have also made a career out of music — and vice versa.

Donny O’Rourke speaks with Geoff Hattersley about American influences, anthologising a golden age of Scottish poetry, his love of travel, and how you distinguish a poem from a song.

Can coincidence, that seemingly magical conjunction of events, play a part in poetry? John Greening considers some famous and more personal examples of its power.

Diana Evans takes us to a writer’s retreat in upstate New York, where she considers how race is a theme that seems imposed on black writers, obligating them to rage against racial injustice. Her characters, she says, have the right to be human first, 'to be ordinary.'

Cynan Jones considers place and authenticity in the storytelling process. 'Risk being unique or aim for palatable? That’s the choice, in writing as in wine-making.'

As a young poet, Gerry Cambridge was inspired and encouraged by the handwritten letters he received from other poets. As letters become increasingly a rarity in an age of email, he reflects on the ways in which these ‘joys of earth’ could once, and can still, nourish a writing life.

Ian McMillan entertains Geoff Hattersley with a look at the world through Barnsley glasses, featuring rubber jam tarts, a novelty Coronation Street alarm clock and a very strange game of chess.

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