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'Once or twice in my writing life a piece of writing has come to me fully formed, spilling onto the page almost faster than I can write, and needing very little editing. Those times were exhilarating and otherworldly, but I can count them on one hand.'

Emma Darwin speaks with Ann Morgan about learning to write novels by doing it, balancing research and storytelling and writing what you come to know as well as what you already understand.

'I returned to UEA to teach on the MA, and though I still valued Angela Carter's advice to me, it isn't advice I readily pass on to my students. I do believe we should write about what we know, but I no longer interpret that maxim quite so literally.'
'I'm also very keen on reading work in translation, as the translator often has to work hard to render the writer's mother tongue into English, with creative results.'
Katherine Clements reflects on how immersing herself in research helps her to envisage the settings for her historical fiction.
'Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me. '
'If I there is a guiding principle behind my reading — let's call it a 'tendency' — it's the idea of The Canon. I've been working on The Canon since I was at school.'
Arriving in Britain from her native Australia Cherise Saywell wondered if she would ever find the confidence to write. More recently, she has found that being an outsider may be no bad thing for a writer.
The strange, diminutive ‘dwarf’s apartment’ in Mantua’s Ducal Palace inspired Clare Colvin to write a historical novel. She later discovered the truth about those dwarfs — and discovered, too, that many novels have been born inside mysterious or hidden chambers.
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