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‘Great writers… write how they want. If they want to tell without showing, they do. Read Henry James if you don’t believe me. ‘

Mark McCrum speaks with James McConnachie about his first travel writing adventures in South Africa during the last days of apartheid, being sent rather unwillingly for a further book about Australia, and working out what you’re writing about as you go along.

‘There’s a Library Shelf in the living room where all the through-traffic is stored; library books, obviously, plus books borrowed from friends.’