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'Select a book from my shelves, open it and you’ll find an unconventional bookmark — a Post-it note, a child’s drawing, even a prescription for folic acid never collected. My bookshelves contain secrets; I plot my life through the books I’ve read.'
Michaela Morgan describes her first encounter with Winnie the Pooh and how A. A. Milne’s famous books have been an influential presence throughout her career as a children’s author.
'My husband, a furniture maker, offered to build me a shed at the end of the garden. Coveted writer’s headquarters, a short gravel path away. I declined. His suggestion made me feel ejected from the family home. I had to explain that I feared loneliness.'
'Like insomnia, or memory loss, or madness, or perhaps more like the mysterious face behind your shoulder in the mirror at midnight, or the black dog racing through the village at night, writer’s block is something I prefer to keep in my peripheral vision. '
Jeremy Treglown considers the allure of working with historical archives and shares some literary anecdotes from a lifetime of documentary research.
'My reading is profligate, promiscuous, a hopeless addiction. The evidence mounts behind the closed door of my bedroom. Broken-backed volumes that slip from my hand in the middle of the night accrete over weeks on the rag rug by my bed.'
'In my twenties I would never abandon a book I had started, from a mixture of stubbornness and courtesy to the author, however little I was enjoying it. Now, I am more mindful of time nipping at my heels, if I am not engaged by page fifty.'
24-11-2022

Lucy Flannery speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about internal monologues, making the leap into writing comedy, thinking as an important aspect of working and the act of writing as achieving a balance between ‘crippling self-doubt and alarming chutzpah’.

08-09-2022

Andy Jackson speaks with John Greening about the patron saints of obscure and modern things, the sonnet as a ‘design classic’, anthologising as the joy of involving other poets in ‘daft ideas’ and the fun of ‘otwituaries’.

'Those who borrow my novels and stories from libraries; your activities do not go unnoticed. At 8.5 pence per loan, sometimes the annual sum from the public lending rights can be more than writers receive for their work in the first place.'
'Had I started anything freely — a poem or a description, a riff of dialogue or rough journal entries — my block may have dispersed. But duty made me stick at the thesis and not diversify. I didn't know then what kind of writer I was.'
'I read every Arthur C. Clarke book the Zodiac Bookshop had to offer. Science at school was dull, but what I learned in Clarke novels kept me interested. Laser beams would be invisible in space without dust to scatter their rays into your eyes...'
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