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'Whoever defined genres, it can't have been a writer. You can't fit creativity into a straightjacket and tell your imagination to conform to a marketing strategy —because that's what genre is.'
'Like Mansfield, I love writing in cafes and bars. Being the anonymous voyeur, tucked away in a corner, with my notebook, and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine; a recreation most writers will recognise.'
'I wrote a grovelingly polite letter to the editor, suggesting amendments, and then I tore up the script and started again. I could see what the problem was; I'd got so bogged down in the detail I'd lost sight of the narrative.'

Kathleen Jones revisits the remote hill farm she grew up on in Cumbria, and the landscape that shaped her.

Catherine O'Flynn explores the hidden spaces of Merry Hill, the suburban shopping centre where she used to work.

Doug Johnstone ponders his adopted city of Edinburgh, a literary capital that he was nervous of using as a setting for his novels.

'At the back are all the books I'm embarrassed to have read; the trashy romances, chick lit, badly written thrillers, comfort reading for a tired brain.'
'I found a reflection of my own life and ambition in Mansfield's, bought a cheap edition of her short stories, and read them until the binding fell apart and it had to be held together with an elastic band. Her writing became essential to me.'

Kathleen Jones tells Frances Byrnes about the mythic relationships between people and their landscapes in her writing — be it a disturbing poem set in her now-abandoned childhood Cumbrian fell home, or fierce non-fiction about the Haida Gwaii islands.


Kathleen Jones explains how writing a hyper-successful biography of a very famous writer nearly destroyed her career.

Mick Jackson recounts the strange time dilation that affects his novel writing, and how he learned to accept it as part of the creative process.

ded for publication but that does not lessen their potential influence. In this miniature memoir – and fierce defence of the epistolary form – the novelist Cynthia Rogerson considers the many ways that letters she has written have affected her life and the lives of those close to her.
After discovering poems from the Haida tradition, Kathleen Jones travelled to the Haida Gwaii, islands at the remote northwestern fringe of Canada. There she discovered a dark story of colonial abuse – and discovered the limits of what she could write, as a European author.
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