All items: history

When Sue Roe decided to write a group biography about the French Impressionists, she little realised what a challenge it would be, involving her in hundreds of hours of research and cross-checking of information about her ten famous subjects; she was inspired to visit the places where they lived and worked.

Wendy Moore speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about the loss of diversity and career opportunities in journalism, historical characters who demand to be written about, and her motivation to find parallels between the past and the present.

Writing is a craft, not some divine gift, and the thing about crafts is the more you do them the better you get at them; so if you want to call yourself a professional writer... you really have to put the hours in.
When she started working as a law reporter, Elanor Dymott was under the impression that she was following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens. But Dickens, she discovered, never wrote a law report in his life. Still, it made a good story…
Over his long career as an art critic, Brian McAvera has compiled a collection of catalogues of Irish art exhibitions, offering a unique overview of twentieth and twenty-first century literary, artistic, and political life.
My starting point for the Jamestown book was a manuscript list of nearly sixty women sent over to Virginia, which I consulted one freezing December morning in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
My natural habitat is a book-lined room, so a habit can be something in which we swathe ourselves, symbolic and protective, denoting belonging, in which we wish to dwell; that sounds just like my reading habit.
John Harrison describes his investigations into the earliest human societies, and what he looks for when he is on the trail of these ancient settlements.