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When young, I was smitten with the cricket writing of Neville Cardus. I’m bound to say that his sickly sentimentality and special pleading have not aged well.

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Lawrence Durrell. At fifteen, I loved his prose so much, I wanted to eat the book; now I want to chuck all that purple nonsense into the bin.

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It’s always about a question; the book is my attempt at answering it. The learning curve is what lures me to the desk each day.

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The act of writing impedes my writing. The books I write in my head are perfect. Unfortunately, translating them onto the page ruins them.

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I’m in a Austen, Brontë, Eliot phase. Probably Elizabeth Gaskell, though, because of North and South (1855): so topical given the way the digital revolution has impoverished so many and enriched so few.

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I write to make sense of the world – or at least to ask better questions – and because words are powerful, transformative tools that can help bring into being a more just and life-giving world ...

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I figure that with practice I might improve. Even if I don’t, I will persist. If in an entire book there is one sentence that works, I see it as proof of growth. Sometimes that sentence stares back at me as if it came from somewhere else ...

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Nothing is more humbling and gratifying to a writer than meeting a reader who has read their work, and this is where writers meet them, sometimes more than one, but if only one, hooray.

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I dislike the word ‘cunt’. I know that is has been appropriated by women and is often used for strong contextual effect, but the hard c at the beginning and the sharp t at the end set my teeth on edge. It is a scary word, an effective one no doubt, but I have never been able to stomach it.

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Why do you write? Because I get enjoyment out of it, and so do other people.

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