'A photograph is often very revealing. I've written an entire novel based on a photograph album owned by the Adjutant and Commander of Auschwitz, and the more I looked at the images he chose to preserve in the album, the more I saw.'
'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.'
'I was determined to grow a thicker skin and get over the pain of rejection from fellow critique-group members — so that I could subject myself to rejection from editors. We were also growing a community to make it feel less personal and lonely.'
'I can trace my entire journey to adulthood — to my passions, my career, values, priorities — through you, like landmarks I didn't always notice as I passed through. But now running my finger back along the map, I see how you shaped my route.'
Amber Lee Dodd shares how a fear of failure led to a crippling case of writer’s block, and how she is reframing her relationship with failure to rediscover her most joyful creative self.
Pauline Rowe considers the unique skills required as a writer working in community settings and argues that this ‘hidden’ work has much to offer writers, beyond the pay packet.
Nathalie Abi-Ezzi on the power of storytelling to create community, identity and belonging, and how a textile art project in London’s East End pushed the boundaries of her work.
'Then my parents got sick, and suddenly life wasn't solely about the highs and lows of school friendships and pet ownership, and adventures on holiday in Cornwall. It was dark and scary and challenging and very difficult to understand. So I wrote about it.'
'I find myself, in this hopeless longing for the inanimate, in the company of Nabokov, who, target shooting at a fair, won a porcelain pig. He writes: ‘I abandoned it on the shelf at the hotel when I left town. In doing so, I condemned myself to remember it'.'
'This impetus to make Ovid ‘new’ resulted in various narratives of bodily modification, from sex changes to the extreme body artist Orlan, who through plastic surgery recreates herself as mythic figures. This sort of ‘translation’ is a large part of how I write.'
'When I started writing in my teens, I made sure the entire family knew about it by donning my writing trousers – jeans with quotes from Sylvia Plath scribbled on them – and wafting upstairs to my writing desk. Years later, I wrote a poem about that desk.'
Penny Boxall explores tapestry making, the stories that live in textile art, and how considering the craft of weaving has influenced her poetry and fiction.