All items: literary anecdote

As the child of bookshop owners, Simon Rae grew up knowing that running a bookshop might be his destiny. But the revelation that he would rather write books than sell them took him along a different path…
In the course of his writing career, Robin Blake has become used to being asked all kinds of questions by members of the public. But what he describes as ‘not really a question at all, but a challenge’ is his least favourite of these.
Are writers mad — or only very sane? Horatio Clare reflects on this conundrum, with relation to his own experience of mental illness.
The gift of a poem from Seamus Heaney to the author’s mother unlocked childhood memories for Bernie McGill of the ‘settle bed’ which is the subject of the poem, and of the elderly woman to whom it belonged.
However it gets done, whatever works for each individual writer, there is only one thing that unites us all; we understand that writing is hard.
Regional dialects used in writing can offer a richness and vitality not to be found in works written in standard English, argues Ray French. Then why are publishers wary of committing to this kind of writing?