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Laura Hird speaks with Geoff Hattersley about her beginnings as a writer of bleak and gritty short stories, the real reason her first novel was written in four different voices, and how she gave her mother a literary afterlife in ‘Dear Laura’.

‘As a writer I play as seriously as a child, and live more than once. Writing also lets me play with ideas, intellectual puzzles; I push them around like jigsaw pieces.’

Wendy Moore speaks with Catherine O’Flynn about the loss of diversity and career opportunities in journalism, historical characters who demand to be written about, and her motivation to find parallels between the past and the present.