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'Jo Ann Beard’s ‘The Fourth State of Matter’ reads like literary fiction but is actually a true account of a college massacre in the United States. Its genre-defying form was a revelation. It seemed to give me permission to write about the tragedy in my family.'
'I have a very low boredom threshold, so if I bore myself, I know I’ll bore you and you’ll put me aside. Even when wading through the endless stream of W. G. Grace’s cricket statistics, I always wanted to breathe life and drama into individual matches.'

Sara Wheeler speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the sources of her inspirations as a travel writer and biographer, why the future of travel writing is bright and why the writer’s job is to find hope and celebrate the individual human spirit’s survival.

How do you write a funeral eulogy when you are grieving? Sophie Duffy reflects on how finding the details that illuminate a life can help mourners navigate the grieving process.
Chris Arthur considers what makes a piece of literature disturbing, and asks whether writers and readers should be concerned by the rapid development of AI-generated text.

Gwyneth Lewis speaks with John Greening about being the first national poet of Wales, attempting to sail from Cardiff to Brazil, her experience of severe depression, the joy and challenge of finding out what you mean in both poetry and prose and her desire always to be trying new techniques in her writing.


Gwyneth Lewis speaks with John Greening about the unpredictable inspiration of a self-described ‘odd mind’, the attraction of sequences and the importance of fun as a motivator, writing about her astronaut cousin and the influence of Joseph Brodsky.

Jini Reddy on discovering travel writing and how fresh, diverse voices are pushing the boundaries of the genre.

Polly Morland speaks with Caroline Sanderson about how the skills acquired during a 15-year documentary film-making career fed into her vocational non-fiction writing, allowing her to blend ideas from self-help, psychology and philosophy with reportage of ordinary, yet extraordinary human stories.


Adriana Hunter contemplates the limitations of automated language translation by computers, and the liberties that human translators simply must take with source material.

Brian Clegg considers our human tendency to interpret the world via patterns and categories, and explains the trouble this causes when it comes to getting books into the hands of readers that might enjoy them.

'In documentaries, the limits of your storytelling are largely set by where you point the camera. I had a tough boss who told me, bluntly, ‘If you haven’t shot it, Polly, you haven’t got it.’ I learned how to parcel up what I saw and heard into units of story.'
'Most human perception is probably lucky guesswork. To be truly an outsider, therefore, brings this disadvantage to the fore. I found, when researching books in India and Pakistan, that because I knew nothing, I was always in a questioning state.'
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