All items: Samuel Pepys

As a writer of historical fiction, John Pilkington has returned again and again to the diaries of Samuel Pepys, which he admires as much for their ‘warts-and-all’ honesty, as for the details they offer of seventeenth-century life.
From the days of Dr Johnson onwards, coffee has played a significant part in writers’ lives —and in those of film-makers and songwriters, too. Donny O’Rourke looks at some of the most celebrated examples, and considers how coffee has enhanced his own experience over the years.

Katharine Quarmby spends a diary week researching and editing her first novel, a work of historical fiction inspired by a cruel act of punishment, and finds the process surprisingly familiar.

Does writing a diary contribute to a writer’s creative capital or squander it? Simon Rae, a diarist himself, considers the long and sometimes uneasy relationship between public writing and diary-writing — from Samuel Pepys to Karl Ove Knausgård.