If Deenie was cool, that meant it was okay to have scoliosis and not the shameful secret it had once felt like. It affected the relationship I had with my own body and spurred me on to explore other writing about disability, and to write my own.
When my family left Lebanon in the middle of the civil war, Stories from the Sands of Africa was one of the few things I brought with me to the UK. On its cover, a girl sits astride an alligator with sharp teeth. She’s being swept downstream to who knows where. But she looks happy.
'Thank you Sister Marie Joseph, for reading us Bible stories every day, shining a light on a world of conflict and drama and complex family relationships like no other. I still bring flowers to your grave. And Miss Medland, for encouraging me to write stories.'
'I have written at least four full-length novels that will never see the light of day. A couple have been roundly rejected by publishers, and I have not had the temerity to show the others to anyone for fear they might somehow slip past the gatekeepers. '
Jon Stock considers life as a nine-to-five novelist and finds unexpected pleasures in editing, a sometimes-overlooked part of the writing process.
C. D. Rose investigates the allure of famous incomplete and lost texts and asks why we are so fascinated by these elusive literary works.
'Harper Lee warned that writers need a thick hide, but even elephants and rhinos feel pain. No matter how hard boiled you think you are, that brief email or fat envelope in the post can always induce new and exquisite agony.'
'I frequently think that if I'd had any sense I'd have given up all other forms of writing and concentrated on writing for children. Actually, publishers don't really like genre fluid writers like me, though no one says so.'
Robin Blake asks whether it’s possible for writers to retire, examines some famous writers who supposedly did so, and reflects on his own reluctance to stop working.
Leigh Russell describes writing her first historical novel and asks whether modern writers can ever recreate authentic voices from the past.
Penny Hancock considers some famous examples of writers who have chosen, for various reasons, to remain anonymous, and why this, paradoxically, often increases the public’s interest in them.
'There's no end, no tedium, in a lifelong love affair with language, just small endings when you reach the conclusion of another piece of work.'