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Syd Moore speaks with Doug Johnstone about her early writing life and the inclusive inspiration of seminal 80s and 90s culture, unexpectedly becoming a tv presenter on Channel 4, the self-doubt she experienced on not getting published, and the problematic Essex Girl stereotype.

'When the time came for audience questions, the late, great Iain Banks got the inevitable one. Without pausing he said there was a secret website called; ‘You just go there and it generates ideas for you’. '
Mark Blayney on the practice of ekphrastic writing – writing that responds to a work of visual art – and the many stories to be found in other artists’ creations.
'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.'
'Rosamond Lehmann, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Pym have been a source of strength. The story of Barbara Pym's rediscovery by the literary world, sixteen years after being dropped by her publisher is one that must give heart to all writers.'
'The Aegean pebble on the desk, the mug with the silly legend, the quiver of blunt pencils, the wonky chair, are vitally important coordinates like the stars to a medieval mariner. The concrete conditions in which I write are important to me.'

Stephen Wyatt takes us to an unusual destination: the Gallifrey One convention, where participants are enthusiastic, oddly dressed, and gratifyingly appreciative of his own 30-year-old TV script.

Doug Johnstone reminds us that no completed novel lives up to what its creator initially imagined, and explains how a complete failure three books in led him to find his true writing voice.

'Iris Murdoch advised me to put something for everybody into my novels. She meant that a novel has to work at different levels for different kinds of readers; as a story, as an entertainment, as a page-turner, and as a way of exploring interesting ideas.'
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