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'Ultimately, life-writing needs to move outside the self if it is to find a place in the world; beyond the experience of catharsis for the writer, the stories must resonate with readers, who recognise them as their own.'

In the second installment of 'My Genre’s Status', RLF writers consider the challenges and opportunities that come with working in a booming or highly regarded genre, with the effects of technology, the impact of high-profile prizewinners and bestsellers, and the perils of marketing all playing a role.


Kate Worsley speaks with Bethan Roberts about the rich vernacular in her historical novel She Rises, the origins of its intertwined structure, what learning to sail taught her about character and how her novel has grown into a trilogy.

'I'm always hoping to chance upon the kinds of details novelists — lucky things — use to light up their characters. The protagonists of non-fiction deserve their places in our imaginations too.'
'I'm inspired by novelists who reveal the extraordinary in what are patronisingly called 'everyday people'; that refusal to confine interest to life's winners... in Carter's work, and in Mantel's.'
'Most of the Victorians I loved have lost their shine, too, for me, except George Eliot; her luminous sense of justice and vision distinguish her. However, recently Hilary Mantel has begun to supplant her.'
'Virginia Woolf's fiction explores the inner lives of intelligent women with courage and originality; she searched for, and found, a way of telling a story that was different.'

Lucy Moore speaks with James McConnachie about prominent political women in the French Revolution, her study of the lives of some controversial maharanis, and the value of detail such as dress in recreating the past.

An author’s ideas are essential to the writing process, but how and why do they arise? Katharine Grant considers various possibilities.
Susan Fletcher recalls the moment as a young teenager when she first became interested in Anne of Cleves — as well as the other five women who were, successively, married to Henry VIII. She reflects on why we still find their lives so engaging.
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