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Writers who inspire me with their unstinting effort. T. E. Lawrence, who lost the only copy of his massive The Seven Pillars of Wisdom on a train and immediately began to write another version. Shirley Hazzard, who wrote thirty drafts of her masterpiece The Transit of Venus.
'Is something missing in the human department? Is one a writer first and a human second? Many writers have outed themselves and said so. And if they didn’t say so, they were too busy smelting other people’s lives into prose to notice. '
Jon Stock considers life as a nine-to-five novelist and finds unexpected pleasures in editing, a sometimes-overlooked part of the writing process.
'I'd love to rewrite Barnaby Rudge. Principally, to do justice to the most interesting and unusual character in the book — Hugh, hostler and principle rioter, is crude, earthy, sexy, torn between a basic decency and anarchy for anarchy's sake.'
'Watching a film or TV programme, no matter how good it may be, is a passive activity. A spectator sport. The audience has no part in it's making. Everything is there... Reading is active.'
'Izzo's special contribution to literature is known as 'Mediterranean noir'; crime fiction which depicts a natural paradise poisoned by corruption, drugs, organised crime, money-laundering and political failure.'
'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.'

Brian McCabe speaks with Geoff Hattersley about why mathematicians are a bit like artists, how something being funny doesn’t mean it’s light, and the process of imaginatively recreating the worldview of a child.


John Keay explains why writing a foreign nation’s history is no more presumptuous than writing about Picts and Scots, and shares his enthusiasm for RH Tawney, a man who was ‘more history writer than historian’.

Tobias Jones considers, as both reader and writer, the fascination of the true crime genre, and the profound truths with which it can connect us.

Faced with the perennial question for writers of ‘how do you come up with your plots?’ David Davies considers his own and others’ practice, and finds that it depends very much on the kind of writer you are, as to whether you spend months on research and planning before putting pen to paper, or rely on that moment of inspiration to set your story in motion.
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