Brian Keaney speaks with Robin Blake about growing up London Irish and the challenges of identity that presented, jumping from a secure teaching job into the precarious freelancery of writing, and how he wrote his first novel to discover the secret behind a pair of mysteries.
Perhaps your subject went away; the war ended; you moved from your special place; the poet of youth grew old, or became Poet Laureate.
Like most professional writers, Anna Reynolds has often been asked to provide her writing services for free and finds it particularly difficult to refuse when it’s a friend who’s asked her to write ‘just a few words’.
When I first heard a poet read, in a chemistry laboratory at Newcastle University, he was Ted Hughes; his gruff Yorkshire voice threw me onto a frosty moor. I could see horses. Hear horizons.
Last year in a screenplay a woman I had expected to be a big supporting character through to the end was shot dead without warning twenty minutes in; no wonder Yeats was known for talking to himself.
A change of place, finding a new muse, pausing on a London bridge, all can stimulate the writer's imagination again, says John Greening. From a sexual potency operation for W.B.Yeats, to Clive James’ terminal illness, there are many ways to trigger inspiration.
Chinua, an Igbo from Nigeria of my father's generation, who wrote Things Fall Apart with its title by an Irishman and its split focus between a pre-colonial West African people and culture and a British colonial administrator; it was, when I read it, the best thing I had ever read.
I was always envious of the flute section in the orchestra at school; a row of neat-looking, trendy girls who didn't have to concern themselves with valve oil or spit keys.