On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

Part of the role of being a good agent is to stay on top of what publishers are looking for – the publishing trends. It is not as easy as looking at the bestseller list, however, because by the time a trend reaches the reader, agents and publishers are already looking for the next big thing.

A few years ago a wit wrote a piece describing the grief that would be heaped on Charles Dickens by his publishers if he were he writing in today’s market. The imagined dialogue went along these lines: ‘So, Charles, what are you working on now? A sequel to ‘The Pickwick Papers?’’ The writer imagined the increasing dismay of modern publishers confronted by the bleak social satire of ‘Oliver Twist’, followed by historical fiction and even – horrors – a ghost story.

The architect enters the room

Wearing a black velvet blazer

Crisp white shirt, skinny leg jeans

A caricature – oozing ‘starchitect’ cool

In July this year ‘The Super Moopers’, a kids’ book series created by Scott Edgar, Sally Rippin and myself, was unleashed on the world. Watching the small army of smiling faces crowd into the Little Bookroom to support us on our launch day was a humbling and emotionally overwhelming experience. 

The internet didn’t invent fan fiction. It’s been flourishing for sixty years in the form of the regency romance novel. In this time-span much has happened in the genre.

Jane Godwin headshot

When writing a picture book, "The idea doesn’t have to be original, but the author's way of treating it does," says tutor Jane Godwin. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Jane about how picture book writing isn't as simple as it seems.

On being released from a Turkish prison recently, writer Yusuf Karataş said ‘whether we are inside or outside, we will continue to speak the truth’. These words are emblematic of the ongoing courage of writers who dare speak truth to power.

Wayne Macauley headshot

"In a short story everything has to be working towards exploring and illuminating your central idea with the minimum words and maximum intensity," says tutor Wayne Macauley. Ahead of his upcoming workshop, we talked to Wayne about what makes a short story great.

It’s bad etiquette for a journalist to make an interview about them. But I couldn’t help myself.

I was chatting to celebrated Victorian chef Ben Shewry of Attica fame for a magazine feature about his restaurant being listed in the prestigious San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Andrew Nette headshot

Done well, crime fiction can be one of the most effective genres for talking about social issues and the problems of society, says tutor Andrew Nette. Ahead of his upcoming workshop, we talked to Andrew about what makes crime fiction so thrilling.