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01-12-2022

Lucy Flannery speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about fallow and active creative phases, the terror and euphoria of live theatre, working collaboratively with other writers and adapting and extending Wodehouse and Austen.

Mark Blayney asks whether we should meet our literary heroes and recalls a pivotal childhood encounter that led to his becoming a writer.
'The first Iris Murdoch novel I ever read, aged about fourteen, was The Flight from the Enchanter. It was like a magnesium flame in the darkness. The bohemian, rackety world she depicted enraptured me; still more, her writing.'
28-04-2022

Caroline Sanderson revisits her childhood home for the first time in five decades, to compare memory with reality.

Paul Dodgson takes us to Hythe on the south coast of Kent, drawn back to a place he was once desperate to escape.

Clare Chambers explains why the apparently prosaic location of the south-east London suburbs has been such a source of inspiration in her work.

'I know there are far worse things than writer's block; a knowledge reinforced by the same terrible events that were causing mine. But that lengthy exile from the world of words not only halted my novel, it made the terrible thing itself so much harder to bear.'
'Start reading Wodehouse; I don't understand why you're holding out against him. It is no betrayal of your feminist principles to embrace the greatest humorist writer of the twentieth century.'
'The longstanding members have been reading a book a month together for nearly twenty years, and are responsible for choosing some of my favourite recent literature. None of which I would have chosen for myself.'
'It's all tied together in plots that took Wodehouse up to two years to develop, but only three months to write. His stories take us on a visit to a world of stately homes, private chefs, private incomes and leisured ease.'
'One friend recently asked me to name the best five books I've ever read; I told him mine, he told me his, and we've been working our way slowly through each other's lists. That's a plan of a kind and it's been a revelation.'
'Now I didn't need him to read to me anymore, that our sitting down side by side, and his joy in reading to me, was ended; guilt then, infests my reading habits from their beginning.'
'When advances dwindle and rejections become legion - each more hurtful than the last - I remember McCullers, Proust, Balzac and the many others who fought the good fight.'
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