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'I spend a lot of time in extreme environments where books of length are essential, preferably printed on bible paper (forget electronic devices: cold sucks out the juice before the end of chapter 1). Tolstoy’s doorstops were made for polar whiteouts. '
'Muriel Spark had it right, I think, spending most of the year in a whirl of social engagements, and retreating to a hotel where she would live undisturbed for months writing her books. Unfortunately, that option is not available for most of us.'
'Liberation isn't all that's needed to achieve the long-haul goal of a novel, it takes discipline too which I've found most easily applied in the early morning before the demands and distractions of the day.'

Kathleen Jones revisits the remote hill farm she grew up on in Cumbria, and the landscape that shaped her.

Catherine O'Flynn explores the hidden spaces of Merry Hill, the suburban shopping centre where she used to work.

Doug Johnstone ponders his adopted city of Edinburgh, a literary capital that he was nervous of using as a setting for his novels.


Mavis Cheek continues her conversation with James McConnachie, discussing how her writing life has charted enormous changes in women’s lives and regretting the dearth of humour in ‘serious’ contemporary fiction.

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