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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.

‘In your heart of hearts you were a writer but you did everything under the sun not to write. You studied German, you went to Drama School, you moved countries, and you forgot you wanted to be a writer.’
‘With the clock loudly ticking, the strain of not being able to write was disastrously compounded by the strain of divorce.’