Katharine McMahon celebrates the role that public libraries have played in her life, from her earliest discovery of the magic of books as a child, to her later career as a writer.
You have to be prepared for weeks of footnote-tag, invest heavily in clue following and set off for distant records offices and idiosyncratic archives without necessarily knowing you'll get anywhere useful at all.
As a writer of historical fiction, John Pilkington has returned again and again to the diaries of Samuel Pepys, which he admires as much for their ‘warts-and-all’ honesty, as for the details they offer of seventeenth-century life.
Miranda Miller describes how a troubling encounter in childhood has remained with her, surfacing recently as she reflects on a new direction for her writing.
Just relax. Getting angry is bad for you. Incidentally, getting angry with editors is more than just bad, it's stupid; they always have the last laugh. Count to ten.
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.
Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me.
The gift of a poem from Seamus Heaney to the author’s mother unlocked childhood memories for Bernie McGill of the ‘settle bed’ which is the subject of the poem, and of the elderly woman to whom it belonged.