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‘Throughout my adult years I’ve believed in the importance of the relationship between a writer and her community. I want to change things for the better.’

Neil Hanson spends his diary week reflecting on subjects as diverse as the subtle art of ghostwriting, SAS men who spend three days hiding in a hedge, and what a big fire really leaves behind.

Mary Colson speaks with John Siddique about the value of children’s non-fiction and the unusual constraints involved in writing it commercially, her love of writing for screen and stage, and the right way to teach writing and nurture children’s voices.