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How to be a human

What can the ‘most human human’ teach us about writing and reading? On Monday’s PM programme*, the writer Brian Christian (disconcertingly hailed as ‘the most human human’ for reasons that will shortly become clear) talked about how he’d acted as a ‘human confederate’ in 2009’s Turing Test. In this annual event, a panel of scientists makes (read more)

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timey-wimey: a letter to my (former) self

Dear Shelley-from-the-past, Put down that Crème Egg and listen to me: this is important. I’m writing to you from 2015, via an ingenious time-travel mechanism, the specifics of which I can’t be bothered to concoct. I won’t tell you anything about 2015 because if I did it would irrevocably alter the history / future of human (read more)

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I’m so excited to have Kerry Hudson guesting on my blog today. The genius behind the Womentoring Project, her debut novel Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma won the Scottish First Book award and was nominated for a slew of others. Yesterday her second novel, Thirst, was published. (read more)

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False beards and wicked women: what writers really need #3

What do writers really need? A mentor, that’s what. They need a seasoned professional to offer the voice of experience, whether it’s in matters technical (‘that structure may not carry the story; have you thought about this one?’) or personal (‘Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can. Here’s a bit of cake. Now go (read more)

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What writers really need #2

Since my blog post on what it is that writers really need, I’ve been thinking about the things which reliably support my own work. I thought I might blog about them from time to time in the hope that, if you’re a writer too, they might support yours. I’m starting with the idea of a (read more)

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Monkeys with tea: what writers really need

There’s been a lot of debate in the past couple of weeks about the usefulness of creative writing MAs, after author and MA tutor Hanif Kureishi’s claim that they are a waste of time (asked whether he’d have enrolled on one, he bracingly replied: ‘that would be madness’). The Grauniad on Saturday ran a three-page (read more)

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Red Prose Day

I’ve been trying to decide how I could contribute to this year’s Red Nose Day – and I’ve come up with an idea I’m really excited about; it’s a plan which will benefit Comic Relief and help out an unpublished writer into the bargain. Here’s the deal: on Red Nose Day (Friday, March 15th), writers can (read more)

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Gorn my son! (What the Olympics taught me about writing)

I’m not quite sure at which point I bought into the Olympics wholeheartedly, but it was probably somewhere around the time I turned to my husband during the opening ceremony and said: ‘Blimey! That’s the best Queen impersonator I’ve ever seen…Oh My God!’ Or maybe it was when the house rose up to reveal Tim Berners-Lee waiting inside, or  (read more)

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good enough

Liz Fenwick has written very generously here about Jubilee, about pushing herself as a writer, and about the necessity of pressing your skills beyond the point of ‘good’, to reach ‘superb’. She’s no slouch at that, as it happens, landing a two-book deal with Orion (The Cornish House is out in May). At the end (read more)

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