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How does one teach writing? It’s not a craft. I attended a one-day workshop in wooden spoon making, great fun it was, and that was a craft. Or in my case a bodge. Literature is an art form. As Doris Lessing said, ‘There are no laws for the novel'.
'In some ways I'm rediscovering the reasons why I wanted to write in the first place; for the pleasure of creating and living in the worlds which belong to me, and no one else until I invite them in.'

Sarah LeFanu explores the question of what name(s) to use for biographical subjects, the ongoing danger ‘of not being quite critical enough’ when the subject starts to feel like a friend, and the persistent asymmetry of naming men by surname and women by first name.

Caroline Brothers investigates the issue of cultural appropriation in fiction, suggesting the right way for novelists to avoid crossing that line.

'I had to throw off the shadows of Samuel Johnson's perfection before I could write. But they have not left me. Often I feel their tug as I struggle to craft a sentence.'
'Growing up in a family of six children, writing was always a way to make myself heard. Even if, for a long time, the only person listening was me.'

Tim Pears explores the double bind that professional authors find themselves in when teaching creative writing, and the unteachable essentials of style and the ‘strangeness’ that reveals the world anew.

Andrew Cowan considers the history of university Creative Writing courses in the UK, their roots in the longer-established English Composition and Creative Writing strands in the US, and the way in which Creative Writing can be vocational even beyond the confines of professional authorship.

Mary Colson on her enduring love of facts, and how this led her to write nonfiction books for children.
'One was asked to deliver four hundred and fifty words by four pm on a social workers' strike in Barnsley; four hundred and seventy-five words by five pm was simply not acceptable.'
'It was the most striking indicator of the transition from private to public; after years of dreaming, grappling with a story I never really imagined would be read by anyone but me, there was, suddenly, a product.'
'Looking back, it's also odd that the level of detail about one particular swimmer didn't raise a flag, but how would an under-pressure Editor sitting in Portsmouth know?'
'So much more satisfactory than speech; you can correct it, remould it, hone it ceaselessly, if you like, before you deliver it. The pleasure is not just in the moment, it can be lasting.'

Martina Evans speaks with Julia Copus about her work as a hospital radiographer, the influence of dream lives, and why she’s said ‘no’ to fiction.

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