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Lesley Glaister speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the mystery of why some of her characters roar into life while others don’t; pays tribute to Hilary Mantel as a friend and mentor of her work; and argues that the heart of her fiction doesn’t only lie in darkness, but also in the triumph of the human spirit.


Lottie Moggach speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about following in the footsteps of a novelist parent, the joys of plot and research, the experience of diving into writing historical fiction, and how to answer when someone asks you what you do.

Claire Williamson writes about the value of turning to literature at times of personal grief and shares some books that have provided comfort and consolation in difficult times.
'It was always my intention to bounce between eras and genres, like Iain Banks with and without his ‘M’. Looking at Hilary Mantel’s early career, she did the same. It is possible, with sheer bloody-mindedness, to carve your own niche.'
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.
Zora Neale Hurston left an indelible mark on me as a young journalist. I was first inspired by her book Tell My Horse recounting her audacious expedition in 1936 to Jamaica and Haiti where she documented life and folklore. I wanted to follow in her footsteps.

Juliet Gilkes Romero speaks with Ann Morgan about telling history’s forgotten stories, writing about intersectionality, chasing down inconvenient truths, and the experience of taking up a writing residency at one of the UK’s most revered theatres.

'I had no idea anyone else would ever read what I had written, let alone publish my story, so nothing about it mattered, giving me complete creative freedom. Writing a book now has become a different experience, more satisfying and more terrifying. '
Michael Woods explores British birds of prey as sources of inspiration and metaphor for writers, including some notable literary examples.
'The first Iris Murdoch novel I ever read, aged about fourteen, was The Flight from the Enchanter. It was like a magnesium flame in the darkness. The bohemian, rackety world she depicted enraptured me; still more, her writing.'

Bethan Roberts explores the varying ways in which truth has transmuted into fiction in her novels, the different nature of truth in fiction versus truth in historical research, and how far she’s prepared to go when inhabiting characters who are also real people.

Lawrence Sail considers the balance between recognising things and discovering them, as experienced during the creative writing process, particularly in poetry.

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