All items: Vladimir Nabokov

Advice from tutors is usually sound because they are thinking about the craft; advice from publishers is frequently disastrous because they are thinking about the market; reviewers are thinking about their reputation.
Tiffany Murray’s mother worked for a time as a cook for various rock bands, including Freddie Mercury’s Queen. Here, Murray describes what it was like growing up in such ‘Bohemian’ company.
I also aspire to read a play a day, which is unrealistic if you are a commissioned writer with a Netflix subscription, and a poem a day, which is more achievable.
Although writers are often asked about their favourite tools – from pens to laptops – the chairs on which they sit to write are seldom mentioned. Alex Games wonders why so little attention has been paid to this crucial piece of furniture.
I can sit at my desk and a whole day will pass like this; the sky will brighten, darken and go black without me realising. This is an ideal state for me. Too often, I'm interrupted.
The novel was written in a language deeply unfamiliar to me, the broken English of a black girl in the American South of the early twentieth century, and it spoke to me like nothing I had ever read.

Cynthia Rogerson contemplates the literary spurs of exile and outsiderhood, wonders whether she would have written any novels if she’d simply stayed at home in the USA, and explains why being a writer is easier in Scotland than in California.

Brian McAvera considers what we’ve lost in favouring naturalistic, TV-esque theatre over the wider and deeper possibilities offered by non-naturalism.

Writers have after-lives, lived out in what happens to their unfinished manuscripts. From Weir of Hermiston and Edwin Drood to Nabokov’s The Original of Laura, Keith Tutt wonders what might have been.
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