All items: Poland

Researching a book based on her father’s experiences as a prisoner of war during the Second World War, Sue Purkiss journeyed to Poland, to see for herself the places he had described in his stories. In doing so, she gained a deeper understanding of what her father had been through, and of the man he was.

Jane Rogoyska speaks with Frances Byrnes about being drawn to her father’s homeland of Poland, telling hidden stories from that country’s brutal history, and how the frustrations of film production drove her to writing.

Knowing the writer inevitably quickens the pleasure of reading the work. Olga is an unusually complete writer; all she does is imagine, plan, plot and write.

Catherine Czerkawska speaks with Cherise Saywell about her fascination with Jean Armour, the greatly underestimated wife of Scots bard Robert Burns, and discusses writing history as fiction, and her own professional journey.

As the child of immigrants, Ray French knows what it’s like to have to shift between identities — and argues that this is no bad thing for a writer. He considers parallels between the Irish experience and that of other ethnic groups in Europe and America, and shows how this sense of difference has shaped his writing.
Every so often a writer comes along and changes the rules of the game. In travel writing, it was Ryszard Kapuściński: his immersive approach and magical journalism, rich in anecdote and hearsay, married deep knowledge to a lightness of touch. To Rosemary Bailey he was a hero. But what does she make of his travel-writing heirs?