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'My dreams are often literary, occasionally disturbingly so, like that vivid encounter I had with R. S. Thomas before I woke to hear he'd died. I had a rather pleasanter dream about Samuel Palmer; it provoked some 'dream-envy' on Facebook.'
'Helen Dunmore was an established writer, but she revealed how she wasn't happy about the stories she was writing. I hadn't heard a writer talk about failure before. She seemed to describe it as an integral part of the journey.'
'If something really gets to me, I want to figure out how and why. What is it the writer does that takes me to a particular place, or time? How do they expose a character and make them compelling? And what makes a voice special?'
08-07-2021

Andrew Cowan speaks with Bethan Roberts about growing up as a working class boy in Corby, eventually taking a Creative Writing MA mostly because he liked being a student, the way his writing proceeds from the visual to the written to the auditory and the slow genesis and under-appreciated success of his first novel.

Leigh Russell describes writing her first historical novel and asks whether modern writers can ever recreate authentic voices from the past.
13-05-2021

Cherise Saywell speaks with Doug Johnstone about the correspondence course that showed her she had something to say, the striking sense of place in her writing, her love of clean, understated prose and the benefits of continuing to write short stories alongside her novels.

03-09-2020

Tim Pears explores the double bind that professional authors find themselves in when teaching creative writing, and the unteachable essentials of style and the ‘strangeness’ that reveals the world anew.

Andrew Cowan considers the history of university Creative Writing courses in the UK, their roots in the longer-established English Composition and Creative Writing strands in the US, and the way in which Creative Writing can be vocational even beyond the confines of professional authorship.

'I'm inspired by novelists who reveal the extraordinary in what are patronisingly called 'everyday people'; that refusal to confine interest to life's winners... in Carter's work, and in Mantel's.'
Arriving in Britain from her native Australia Cherise Saywell wondered if she would ever find the confidence to write. More recently, she has found that being an outsider may be no bad thing for a writer.
26-04-2018

Rob Chapman shares the importance of wholly invented bands and songs in his creative life, and considers other examples of imaginary culture and the fictitious within our fictions.

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