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04-10-2018

Kathleen Jones revisits the remote hill farm she grew up on in Cumbria, and the landscape that shaped her.

Catherine O'Flynn explores the hidden spaces of Merry Hill, the suburban shopping centre where she used to work.

Doug Johnstone ponders his adopted city of Edinburgh, a literary capital that he was nervous of using as a setting for his novels.

19-07-2018

Judy Brown considers how two decades spent as a practising lawyer have impacted her experiences and processes of writing, and considers the parallels and contrasts between the law and poetry.

Martina Evans considers her unlikely literary beginnings as the youngest of ten in a County Cork family: ‘I was known as a dreamer, a fumbler, a fool; if I was so busy dreaming, how did I notice so many things? My family asked this question too, even then.’

Writers have after-lives, lived out in what happens to their unfinished manuscripts. From Weir of Hermiston and Edwin Drood to Nabokov’s The Original of Laura, Keith Tutt wonders what might have been.
Writers are not often told ‘the fewer words the better’, nor expected to consider the relative weighting of vowels to consonants in their sentences. Nor are they often given their own theatre, carriage and desktop piano — like Wagner. But writing an opera libretto, as Ron Butlin reveals, can be wildly different from other kinds of writing.
Robert Louis Stevenson is the patron saint of psychological dualism. David and Alan in Kidnapped are stark opposites with polar sympathies, and polar ideologies. James Wilson has been enthralled by the novel since boyhood – Stevenson showing him how such opposing forces can exist in dramatic tension. By degrees, Stevenson’s example drew him into writing fiction.
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