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Reading T. S. Eliot, I saw the images, got caught up in the rhythms with no awareness of separation. Internalised is the word. But instead of losing myself, as happens in childhood reading, it was as if I were gaining a more intelligible sense of connection to real things.
As my understanding of the world grew, so my love for a broader spectrum of writing emerged. The tender brutality of Jean Genet, a defiant mix of love and grime. Authors who first provoked and then provided a home for my own emotions.
I felt a particular affinity with writers who brought the ‘folk’ into literature. The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men were early inspirations. Later I encountered Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners.
'I’d rewrite Shakespeare’s Tempest. I hadn’t read it, but Caliban was all I needed to know. I re-formed the play to my own dream-vision, but the lavish production I envisaged was stymied by the realities of a small market town and adult scepticism.'

Polly Morland speaks with Caroline Sanderson about how the skills acquired during a 15-year documentary film-making career fed into her vocational non-fiction writing, allowing her to blend ideas from self-help, psychology and philosophy with reportage of ordinary, yet extraordinary human stories.


Ian Ayris speaks with Ann Morgan about the therapeutic power of storytelling, football’s role in male expression, learning to write in your own voice and discovering the joys of Shakespeare.

'There were no clear routes for becoming a writer. Degrees in creative writing had not yet mushroomed at the universities; I’d had no idea that writing might be taught. How novelists learnt their craft and made a career of it, to me was an utter enigma.'

Peter Oswald speaks with John Greening about his passion for verse drama, his work translating writers such as Schiller, his introduction to Steiner and theosophical theatre and the struggle to find institutional support for verse drama and long-form poetry.

'Keats describes his position as he is writing, with his back to the fire, one foot on the rug and the other dangling over it. He considered it would be a great delight to know the exact bodily position in which Shakespeare began ‘To be or not to be’. '

Andy Jackson speaks with John Greening about the patron saints of obscure and modern things, the sonnet as a ‘design classic’, anthologising as the joy of involving other poets in ‘daft ideas’ and the fun of ‘otwituaries’.

Elizabeth Cook considers how moments of vitality and connection make writing come alive for the reader, and how we, as writers, can make our work sing.
C. D. Rose investigates the allure of famous incomplete and lost texts and asks why we are so fascinated by these elusive literary works.
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