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'I’ve felt that not doing an English literature degree has been the making of me. Knowing how lacking in confidence I was as a young woman, it seems such great good fortune that I was nourished by so many writers outside of those parameters.'
'How do you get your ideas?’ If this seems a silly question to you: try not to say that. Think ahead and make up a reason. You’re a creator! Invent. And if your audience is bijou — shall we say — involve them.'
'Barbara Pym's renaissance was sparked in 1977 in the TLS when both Lord Cecil and Philip Larkin claimed her as ‘the most underrated novelist of the century’. Her books were republished, and, joy of joys, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.'
'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.'
'I think about books all the time. In bed at night, in the shower, when I’m cooking a meal, during country walks, on long car journeys. I think about books I’ve read and books I want to read. I compile lists in my head of books to buy and in what order. '
'The writer needs mechanisms to maintain enthusiasm and minimise worry so that he can take full advantage of those moments that afford the freedom to create. This can also change the writer, requiring mental resources.'
Nathalie Abi-Ezzi considers her relationship with dogs, both literary and real life, how canine companions have influenced her writing, and what writers can learn from pet ownership.
'What I love about fan-fiction is that the writers, unbound by the demands of publishers and marketing teams, can be wildly experimental and unconventional. I learn a lot.'
'You'd be affronted if you knew that a fifty-two year old woman was reading what you'd written, and you'd be amazed to know that that woman was a published writer with more than a passing association with you.'

In the second installment of 'My Genre’s Status', RLF writers consider the challenges and opportunities that come with working in a booming or highly regarded genre, with the effects of technology, the impact of high-profile prizewinners and bestsellers, and the perils of marketing all playing a role.


Sarah LeFanu speaks with Ann Morgan about how activism preceded authorship, writing a critical history of women’s speculative fiction because she wanted to teach it, her experiences in revolutionary Mozambique and her role in the Women’s Press and the subsequent illusion of ‘post-feminism’.

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