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Mavis Cheek continues her conversation with James McConnachie, discussing how her writing life has charted enormous changes in women’s lives and regretting the dearth of humour in ‘serious’ contemporary fiction.

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’.

Lesley Glaister speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the mystery of why some of her characters roar into life while others don’t; pays tribute to Hilary Mantel as a friend and mentor of her work; and argues that the heart of her fiction doesn’t only lie in darkness, but also in the triumph of the human spirit.

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