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Nikki Sheehan recounts how she became a convert to writing by hand and explores some scientific discoveries that might explain our writing preferences.
'Jayne Anne Phillips' slim collection Sweethearts was published when she was in her early twenties. She does not refer to its contents as stories or poems; she calls the writing ‘pieces’. Each is a page, a snapshot of small-town American life. '
'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.'
Sara Wheeler discusses the fine line between biography and fiction, and how to tackle the challenges of unreliable sources and research gaps when writing about real lives.
'Men wrote the books that mattered. Women wrote stories in magazines. But as a child, the books I read were almost exclusively written by women. They were the books that changed my life.'
An author’s ideas are essential to the writing process, but how and why do they arise? Katharine Grant considers various possibilities.
'Reading as a writer and not just as a reader is a different experience, both richer and less carefree; instead of simply enjoying the ride now you are paying attention to the mechanism that makes it possible'

Diana Evans speaks with Frances Byrnes about how story and 'real life story' aren’t the same thing, what you really need to be writer, writing versus dancing and the need for more black writers.


Charles Boyle speaks with Julia Copus about literary gender-swapping, the role that small presses have to play in today’s publishing world, and how serendipity has helped shape his life and career.

Since Shakespeare delighted Elizabeth I by giving Sir John Falstaff his own play, characters from stories have often had afterlives — existences outside the works that gave birth to them. John Pilkington argues that appropriating a character, and turning him or her into someone new, is very different from writing a mere sequel.
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