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‘Soon you’re writing articles of your own, furiously opinionated and probably ill-informed. You ask a local paper to print your words. They laugh at you.’

Rukhsana Ahmad speaks with John Siddique about her peripatetic childhood in Pakistan, how her concern for other people motivates her to keep writing across years and genres, and how she’s avoided the constraints of the ‘post-colonial’.

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.