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Fifty years after taking part in his first poetry reading as a schoolboy, Brian McCabe reflects on what reading his work aloud means to him, and how communicating directly with an audience in this way has helped to shape his writing.

Brian McCabe speaks with Geoff Hattersley about why mathematicians are a bit like artists, how something being funny doesn’t mean it’s light, and the process of imaginatively recreating the worldview of a child.

In the course of his writing career, Brian McCabe has discerned the influence of a number of other writers on his own work — influences which may or may not have proved enduring. Here he considers some of the more important.