All items: Roopa Farooki

James McConnachie looks back on the gender bifurcation of childhood reading - and reminds us not to underestimate the gender-transcending power of the empathetic imagination.

Mark McCrum leads us into the strange world of the ghost writer, whose perilous path encounters both too little and too much material, and where the famous subjects of ghost-written autobiographies can co-operate or not.

I was a greedy reader but then I found that reading alone wasn't enough to fuel my writing, so I became something of a spy in the house of those I loved, and would keep an incriminating journal.
Choosing books indiscriminately by weight as much as content, I wanted to find books that were heavy enough to keep me going until my visit the following week and I didn't risk wasting my precious allocation of books on something slim.
I felt that the characters in Tyler's fiction were true to the tips of their fingers, knotted into their world by their relationships and their sprawling dysfunctional families. I believed every word they said.
Remember that too, that silly optimism, because no one believes more in your work than you and your belief is infectious. You believe in magic, in fairies in the garden, in happy-ever-after.
I stopped worrying about the book I had written and started thinking about the book I wanted to write; instead of looking back I looked forward.
When I was writing my fourth novel I had two toddlers but I was trapped inside my story; I was compelled to keep writing.
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