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Martin MacInnes on his long quest for the perfect writing conditions, seeking the muse in silence, and how lockdown caused him to reevaluate his search.
'When I was on the judging panel for the Man Booker Prize, we had to read around a hundred and twenty novels in three months. Enforced concentration made the brain's critical mechanism whirr at an adrenaline-fuelled pace. '
Gerry Cambridge on the life-altering discovery that shaped his writing career and the value of a well-selected poetry anthology.
'Think I need a fag, but sadly no longer smoke. Have a belated post-lunch coffee, sit down at the computer; doorbell goes. Take in two large boxes. Sit down at the computer, turn off phone, close office door, take a deep breath.'
'Let's see, what else is in here? Of course, the Mr Trubshaw stories! Various people still occasionally ask me, whatever happened to Mr Trubshaw? A baby who chairs meetings of the other characters, his toys.'
16-12-2021

Laura Barnett speaks with Ann Morgan about capturing moments on the page, using details to create worlds, encountering sexism in the comments section and holding onto the book you want to write.

'I found myself imagining a family down our street, snuggling up with my story; reading, and laughing and enjoying it together. And I found that I loved writing. I loved the rewrites.'
'I suspect there are very few of you who've read everything I've written. Not least because I write across quite different forms. If you've read my poems you might not be drawn to my political fantasy novels, and vice versa.'
'We like our own company and may not be accustomed to public speaking. My advice is, though, however frightening it seems at first, force yourself to do it. It really does get easier.'
'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?'
'Thinking of Shaw, newly arrived in London from Dublin, heading hopefully for the British Museum to find everyone was writing novels, I remember the details of my own particular version of that profound and unforgettable sense of failure.'
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