Skip to content

John Greening speaks with Caroline Sanderson about discovering that poetry was his calling, and discusses his wide-ranging career in verse, editing and literary criticism.


Royal Literary Fund writers explore how their writing relates to the people around them, taking in everything from working with community groups to dealing with isolation.

'After commuting for twelve years, I went freelance. I told GWR I had written three books on their train, and that I should be made their writer in residence. To my surprise they agreed, giving me a staff pass that allowed free travel on their network.'

Lesley Glaister speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the mystery of why some of her characters roar into life while others don’t; pays tribute to Hilary Mantel as a friend and mentor of her work; and argues that the heart of her fiction doesn’t only lie in darkness, but also in the triumph of the human spirit.

'I came to writing late in life, having never for a moment thought I would become a published novelist. It simply never occurred to me that I could or ever would become a writer. My working-class roots put it well beyond any horizon of mine.'
'As pilgrims we were captivated by the landscape as it changed around us, concerned with basic facts of where we would eat and sleep, and charged with the encounters and conversations that shaped each day. I had no desire for a fictional world.'
'There was no one in the once-a-monastery-now-a-restaurant but us — maybe the festival had booked the whole restaurant, which didn’t strike me as out of keeping with the general oddness of this globetrotting cohort of writers and translators.'

Jamie Lee Searle speaks with Ann Morgan about unpicking books layer by layer, overcoming the fear of writing and the practicalities of the creative life.

'The Scillies are the place my imagination retreats to when I’m grappling with a plot, or a new set of characters. The uncluttered beauty of the landscape triggers my creativity, which could explain why I return there every year.'
'Air Mail letter to my student self which has taken two months in transit: OK, so you hate being in Russia, the Soviet Union isn't what you imagined, you haven't got a clue what's going on or what anyone is saying and haven't seen a piece of fruit in months.'
Ian Ayris charts his many and varied ‘lives’ – from school days to his career as a writer – and how each continues to feed and inform his work.
'As poet in residence at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, I was given a bib with the word ‘observer’ on it (lest someone mistake me for a genuine member of the emergency services). I feel I am wearing that bib a lot of the time anyway, as a poet.'
Back To Top