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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.
When Felicity McCall found a box of council correspondence from the years following the First World War, she didn’t expect to discover stories. Here she shares how even the most mundane paperwork can reveal voices from the past.
Pamela Scobie considers recurring themes in her fiction and asks, Have I written the same novel six times?
How do you write a funeral eulogy when you are grieving? Sophie Duffy reflects on how finding the details that illuminate a life can help mourners navigate the grieving process.
'I whittled the cemeteries down to two. My editor was adamant — two was still too many. She was right. My personal, emotional, response was blinding me to the fact that if I wanted to write about cemeteries of World War I, I should write a different book. '
'It’s probably no coincidence that the passages picked out by readers, as scenes that ‘stayed with them’, seem to be those where I actually walked the ground. Goose down caught in grass by the lake, rain hanging on barbed wire, like notes on a stave.'
'My friend’s untimely death galvanised me: I went on an Arvon course, primed by the book she had told me to read, my head stuffed with the English Civil War. As I sat at Lumb Bank, I saw a man sailing away from England. He trailed destruction... '
'‘Welcome home Odysseus. I’m glad you finally made it back. I’m relieved that you have had a bath. From the bedroom window I saw you after you slaughtered the suitors and got our son to rip off Melanthius’s genitals and feed them to the dogs.''
'A thoroughly enjoyable event for my World War One novel was based around a period afternoon tea, complete with posters, bunting and wartime recipes, and the question and answer session occurring speed-dating style as I moved around tables. '
'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.'
Michaela Morgan describes her first encounter with Winnie the Pooh and how A. A. Milne’s famous books have been an influential presence throughout her career as a children’s author.
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