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Mark McCrum speaks with James McConnachie about his first travel writing adventures in South Africa during the last days of apartheid, being sent rather unwillingly for a further book about Australia, and working out what you’re writing about as you go along.

‘Many times I’ve said I’ve had I enough, I’m getting a real job; I can’t take the uncertainty anymore. Then I get an idea.’
‘There’s a Library Shelf in the living room where all the through-traffic is stored; library books, obviously, plus books borrowed from friends.’