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'There was no one in the once-a-monastery-now-a-restaurant but us — maybe the festival had booked the whole restaurant, which didn’t strike me as out of keeping with the general oddness of this globetrotting cohort of writers and translators.'
Robin Blake considers four novels he read in his youth and how revisiting them fifty years later casts new light on the books themselves, and on his relationship with reading.
'Interactivity, I would argue, has been a disaster for writers. Famously susceptible to procrastination, writers are avid for distraction, which the new technologies all too readily provide. The itch for stimulation is far too easily scratched with social media.'
'Didn't Shakespeare combine the quotidian with the supernatural, the mythical with the philosophical, all the time? Didn't the Greeks? Didn't the authors of the Bible?'
'A notebook must fit into a pocket, ready to receive drawings, an overheard conversation, a telling phrase, or even a word or two that's taken my fancy.'

James Woodall speaks with Robin Blake about how his mother is accidentally responsible for his writing career and some of his subject matter, how his love of Spanish music eventually led him to Latin America, and wanting to escape the constraints of biography.

'Style and form are all find and dandy, I'm sure they do wonders for my poor old brain, but sometimes I hanker after a good story. Luckily there are plenty of them about, and some happen to be beautifully written too.'

Todd McEwen tells Frances Byrnes about how his early life in Southern California gave him abundance – in literature and landscape – but also taught him scepticism and helped him develop his distinctive writing voice.

Dismayed to find that most of the books on her shelves were originally written in English, Ann Morgan decided to spend a year reading works from around the world. In doing so she gained some fascinating insights into other cultures, which helped to enrich her own writing.
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