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Elanor Dymott explains how an encounter with the tangible aspects of photography, during deeply immersive research for her second novel, almost stopped her being a novelist.

Alex Martin considers whether it's better to be a man of action, or to live a more contemplative life. Or can a writer do both?

Pascale Petit recounts how the sudden re-emergence of her long-absent father triggered both a sense that she’d discovered the material for her new book, but also a complete inability to write it.

Penny Hancock explains how a professional setback and a series of personal losses led her to decide to give up writing completely - and how the unusual life story of an elderly relative provided two kinds of inspiration for starting again.

Are writers mad — or only very sane? Horatio Clare reflects on this conundrum, with relation to his own experience of mental illness.