All items: Robert Burns

In ‘My Hero', we talk to a number of RLF writers about their personal heroes, and how those heroes have had an impact on their lives and their writing.

Donny O’Rourke visits old haunts in Dumfries and the Borders, ghosted by the bards of Scotland’s past, for the liminal Celtic festival of Samhain.

Julian Turner considers the usefulness of imagination, not just to the writer, but also to the exile and the abused child, and suggests that metaphorical thinking may be psychologically essential.

Listening as a schoolboy to the great singer-songwriters of the 1970s helped to shape Donny O’Rourke’s sense of what might be achieved in poetry. Here he pays tribute to some of the musicians who influenced him.
When I first heard a poet read, in a chemistry laboratory at Newcastle University, he was Ted Hughes; his gruff Yorkshire voice threw me onto a frosty moor. I could see horses. Hear horizons.

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.

Donny O’Rourke speaks with Geoff Hattersley about losing and rediscovering self-belief as an artist, the pleasures of improvisation, handling midlife melancholy and the joy of that moment 'between apprehension and comprehension'.

A passion for collecting vintage textiles – christening gowns, embroidered samplers, and lacework – has always run parallel with Catherine Czerkawska’s interest in writing historical fiction. Here she talks about a lifelong interest in these rare and beautiful items, and the ways in which they have been woven into her writing.
Robert Burns is better known for his love affairs with women than for his marriage. But his wife, Jean Armour, was not the homely ‘heifer’ some historians have tried to make her out to be. She was a fine singer and a collector of ballads, argues Catherine Czerkawksa, and an important influence on her poet husband.