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I once read that if you wanted to be a good writer, it was a good idea to suffer from unrequited love, be starving, be a raging alcoholic, or better yet, become an ex-pat. I decided to sidestep the broken heart, poverty and excessive alcohol. But exile appealed to me, and I left my home country at the tender age of not quite eighteen.

Rob Chapman shares the importance of wholly invented bands and songs in his creative life, and considers other examples of imaginary culture and the fictitious within our fictions.


Cynthia Rogerson contemplates the literary spurs of exile and outsiderhood, wonders whether she would have written any novels if she’d simply stayed at home in the USA, and explains why being a writer is easier in Scotland than in California.

Brian McAvera considers what we’ve lost in favouring naturalistic, TV-esque theatre over the wider and deeper possibilities offered by non-naturalism.

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