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In the first of a two-part exploration of the knotty problem of ‘Writing versus life’, Royal Literary Fund fellows discuss the ways writers try and sometimes fail to fit writing into their lives, including issues such as juggling family commitments, the importance of finding the right quality of silence and the value of a room of one's own.

'Publication is wonderful — both euphoric and humbling, and I’ve been dazed by it each time. But in the days and weeks that follow a book’s release, I feel a strange sadness. As if something had physically left me, that I looked for but couldn’t find.'

In this installment of 'How I Write', Royal Literary Fund fellows discuss the relative merits of pen versus computer, the role stationery can play in planning, and some of the pros and cons of writing software.


In this installment of 'My Favourite Book', Royal Literary Fund fellows share what books they love have taught them about craft, the role of the writer in a text and the tricky art of blurring poetry and prose.

'I love maps for their intrinsic beauty. I love them for helping me to know a little more. But I love them most of all because they are sources for my best daydreams, even now; as in my childhood, I still imagine the lives in these far-flung places. '
'I felt swept away by Ondaatje’s prose, as if by water — and yet so often I would need to climb ashore or set the book down in order to spend time with an expression or a character’s reply because these words were too beautiful to be hurried through.'
'The wonder and generosity in her books make them irresistible. Simply put, Susan Fletcher creates worlds I want to live in, and of her seven novels I honestly couldn't choose a favourite. '
'The definition of 'literary fiction' is strange, vague and controversial, and the term does a poor job, I feel, of linking my novels when they are so diverse in all possible ways.'
'Perhaps, above all, this is the aspect of the writing life that I was most surprised by, and had never really imagined; that the worry never goes. Imposter syndrome breathes down my neck all the time.'
'I know my first novel was rejected by over twenty imprints before finding a home. That novel won prizes in the end, but I still remember those adjectives used by agents more easily than I can remember the praise of the judges.'
'I was not lacking ideas, rather I woke to find that I had lost the ability to express them. There seemed to be a physical blockage between my brain and hands.'

Susan Fletcher speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the importance of setting to her novels, how her love of the natural world and writing outside helps her bring poetry to her prose, and what really motivates her as a novelist.

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