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Top Tips Peter Kemp: reviewing literary fiction

Peter Kemp gave a class on reviewing literary fiction at Somerset House. Top Tips Bear in mind that a review is a balancing act – between reporting and commentary, fact and analysis, information and lively writing. Always read with a pencil in hand – n …

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Library Amrou Al-Kadhi and Tom Rasmussen in conversation: ‘Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things’

Cecil Beaton’s early studio portraits of debutantes and celebrities helped define the image of the ‘Bright Young Thing’, with elaborate backdrops and dramatic costumery. But it was perhaps through his self-portraits that he most strikingly explored the …

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Library Life is tweet: Margaret Atwood on her passion for new technology

Your 400,000 Twitter followers are a bit of a mystery to some writers. What’s it all for? Who are they? Is it for publicity/fame/money/fun/sharing information? I don’t know why short-form writing is considered odd. People have been doing it ever since …

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Library Sarah Losh: architect, antiquarian and visionary

Jenny Uglow celebrates National Women’s History Month, and its theme ‘women inspiring innovation through imagination’, with a talk about Sarah Losh, who built an extraordinary church in a village near Carlisle in the 1840s. As a woman innovator, Losh b …

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Top Tips Bernardine Evaristo: on character

Bernardine Evaristo gave a class on writing strong characters at The Free Word Centre, as a part of The Literary Consultancy’s digital conference. Top Tips Your characters need to be believable, that is, as psychologically complex and flawed as we memb …

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Library A problem shared: securing a future for our planet

Margaret Atwood is Canada’s foremost novelist and poet, winner of both the Booker and Orange prizes. The daughter of a forest entomologist, she is passionate about the natural world and this passion has increasingly informed her fiction. ‘The most impo …

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Library Eleanor Catton in conversation with Robert Macfarlane

Last October, the New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize. Her epic 832-page murder mystery The Luminaries, set in the New Zealand gold rush of 1866, has been praised as ‘dazzling, luminous, vast’, ‘c …

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Library Neil Gaiman and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Dressed in black and based in the US, Neil Gaiman has, in the past decade, become an author hero among readers of all ages, including the 1.8 million who follow him on Twitter. In prize-winning, best-selling novels including Coraline, Neverwhere, Ameri …

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Library Hilary Mantel, Harriet Walter: the lives of others

In a recent Guardian interview, the actress Harriet Walter reflected on the impossibility of ever really knowing another human being. Yet, like the novelist Hilary Mantel, she has devoted her professional life to inhabiting characters not her own, ofte …

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Top Tips Ruth Rendell: crime writing

Ruth Rendell gave a class on crime writing, at Somerset House. Top Tips: The writer of fiction writes or longs to write. The writer of fiction needs to be well-read. Not a reader exclusively of crime fiction, not necessarily one who ever reads crime fi …

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