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Paula Byrne speaks with James McConnachie about the tragic fates of two lesser-known Kennedy siblings, doing meticulous scholarly research and yet publishing accessible books, moving into writing fiction, and investigating the psychological health benefits of reading with ReLit.

‘Those heaps of books in the living room left as if to mark my territory, with their scruffy bookmarks, torn up poetry drafts may, of course, be evidence of a project.’
‘You form a band with other girls and write song lyrics instead. You walk this flimsy tightrope; eager to do well yet terrified of being ostracised as a brain-box.’