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'One cannot deny the existence of a genre hierarchy among writers. Bruce Chatwin turned down the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year award, and its cheque, because, he averred, ‘I’m not a travel writer’. The genre was beneath him. '
Sara Wheeler discusses the fine line between biography and fiction, and how to tackle the challenges of unreliable sources and research gaps when writing about real lives.

Former RLF Trustee Richard Holmes speaks with Gabriel Gbadamosi about the intrusions and liberations of biographical research, shares some useful advice for aspiring biographers and considers the impact of photography and the changing nature of biography as a form.


Elanor Dymott explains how an encounter with the tangible aspects of photography, during deeply immersive research for her second novel, almost stopped her being a novelist.

Alex Martin considers whether it's better to be a man of action, or to live a more contemplative life. Or can a writer do both?


Chris Arthur speaks with Cherise Saywell about the essay as a multifaceted and ‘heretical’ form, the notion of a ‘dangerously failed’ piece of work, and the encouraging fact that ‘If you can find the objects that speak to you, essays will follow’.


Nicholas Murray is the author of several biographies, and it is literary biography – and in particular his acclaimed life of Huxley – that he discusses here with George Miller.

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