Skip to content
As editor of The Author, James McConnachie has had to develop strategies for turning down the pitches of prospective contributors as politely – and firmly – as possible. Here he considers some of his preferred methods for saying ‘no’.

James McConnachie looks back on the gender bifurcation of childhood reading - and reminds us not to underestimate the gender-transcending power of the empathetic imagination.

Mark McCrum leads us into the strange world of the ghost writer, whose perilous path encounters both too little and too much material, and where the famous subjects of ghost-written autobiographies can co-operate or not.


In ‘Writing vs Life: On Balance’, we talk to a number of RLF writers about the challenges of balancing writing against other aspects of their lives, how to stay grounded, and whether it’s ok for artists to be selfish.

'Maybe you're just lost in confusion like when you got that first ever commission to write a book review for the Observer and you were so consumed with delight that you actually kissed the editor on the cheek.'
'The reason I'm a nasty Bogtrotter of a reader is not because of my appetite, but because of the disgusting way I treat my review books. Over the years I've developed a system of book mutilation, mastication and digestion all of my own. '
‘Lost objects and unreliable memories… are everywhere in my writing,’ says James McConnachie – wondering if perhaps this preoccupation with missing and destroyed documents, contended versions of history, and rescuing facts from obscurity might have its origin in something that happened in his childhood – the loss of a beloved toy car.

James McConnachie speaks with Julia Copus about the plight of non-fiction books in an internet age, his travel writing adventures and the joy of (writing about) sex.


Is writing a ruthless business? How much honesty is too much? Should you mine your own life for stories? RLF writers explore this literary quandary in 'The Splinter of Ice'.


The RLF takes an inside look at how writers navigate the shoals of literary genre, and how they really see themselves — despite what those book blurbs might say.

Eager for a book project to plunge into, James McConnachie rekindled an earlier passion for Botticelli's Birth of Venus. He pored over images of the work and delved into its history. Like a detective haplessly drawn into a long-buried mystery, he began seeing clues everywhere, pointing towards the true identity of Venus and the hidden eroticism of Renaissance Florence. What was going on?
Back To Top