All items: non-fiction

When Sue Roe decided to write a group biography about the French Impressionists, she little realised what a challenge it would be, involving her in hundreds of hours of research and cross-checking of information about her ten famous subjects; she was inspired to visit the places where they lived and worked.
Roy Bainton recalls some highlights of his long career as a writer for the popular music press, reviewing and writing tour brochures for a wide range of famous, and not-so-famous, artists.

Wendy Moore speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about the loss of diversity and career opportunities in journalism, historical characters who demand to be written about, and her motivation to find parallels between the past and the present.

My starting point for the Jamestown book was a manuscript list of nearly sixty women sent over to Virginia, which I consulted one freezing December morning in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Nick Holdstock speaks with John Siddique about living in and writing about China and the nature of the 'Chinese dream', his unexpected job cataloguing the book collection of the late Doris Lessing, and the inspiration of serendipitous finds in second-hand books.

Claire Harman speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the painstaking, and sometimes obsessive art of literary biography, and how careful detective work can bring new insights into even the most written-about lives.

John Harrison describes his investigations into the earliest human societies, and what he looks for when he is on the trail of these ancient settlements.

Mark McCrum speaks with James McConnachie about how he came to take up ghostwriting, its similarities with travel writing, the drama of being the official documenter of the troubled Castaway TV series in 2000, and the challenge of Robbie Williams versus impending deadlines.