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Writers on writing

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This section features commissions from contemporary writers. Click on a name to access their creative work plus a discussion of cultural background, genesis, structure, technique and the literature that has inspired and influenced them.

 

 Graham Mort  * Graham Mort

Brought up on the edge of a cotton-spinning town, I was caught between two cultures, two histories: behind us the smoke-blackened brick of packed houses and mills, ahead the half-ruined countryside which the town was slowly colonising.

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 Sara Maitland  * Sara Maitland

Sara Maitland, Crossing Borders' tutor. I have led a very noisy life. I was born in 1950 and grew up in large, highly articulate family: the six children were close together in age (in 1968 when every newspaper in the country was ranting about the dreadful-ness of teenagers, my parents had five of them).

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 Catherine Johnson  * Catherine Johnson

Catherine Jonhson. I had one of those lovely ordinary childhoods in suburban north London. There was enough room in the terraced streets and the covered reservoir and the allotments were special places...

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 Paul Farley  * Paul Farley

Paul Farley. I'm of a mind to report my reading is a mess. I've never studied English (or Creative Writing, for that matter) and this is probably reflected in a very haphazard...

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 Menna Elfyn  * Menna Elfyn

Menna Elfyn. I was born in 1951 in the Swansea Valley, the youngest of three children. We lived in a little industrial valley, eight miles from Swansea. Most of the people who...

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 Helon Habila  * Helon Habila

I was born in November, 1967 in Kaltungo, my hometown, in north eastern Nigeria . My father started life as a preacher with the white missionaries, then he left them...

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 Aislinn Hunter  * Aislinn Hunter

My early memories are of small Canadian cities filled with brick and stucco buildings, L-shaped shopping centers and subdivisions where where every fifth house was identical. Convenience stores...

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 Jim Crace  * Jim Crace

I was bought up in the very last building in London. If you looked south out of the front window of our family’s flat, then you would see ten miles...

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 Brian McCabe  * Brian McCabe

I grew up in a small town in a coal mining area near Edinburgh. My father worked as a miner, my mother as a cook or a cleaner. I was...

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 Beverley Naidoo  * Beverley Naidoo

I grew up in apartheid South Africa, accepting the world as presented to me in my whites-only school and community. When my older brother began to question our...

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 Binyavanga Wainana  * Binyavanga Wainana

I was born in Nakuru Kenya in 1971. For most of my life, I have lived inside the pages of fiction. I fell in love with novels at 7, and...

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 Valerie Bloom  * Valerie Bloom

I was born in a small farming village in the centre of Jamaica. I was the oldest girl, and second of nine children. As soon as I discovered books, I...

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 Kathleen Jamie  * Kathleen Jamie

There was no literature in my house, just my mother’s thrillers from the library, and my dad’s railway books. But, because it was a Scottish house, there were two copies...

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 Patience Agbabi  * Patience Agbabi

Crossing Borders: From Page to Stage and Back Again I was born in London in the mid-'60s to Nigerian parents and from an early age was privately fostered in a...

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 Fred d'Aguiar  * Fred d'Aguiar

My first scrape with the arts happened in Secondary School, in London around age 13. An English teacher read a few poems to us and asked us to write imitations....

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 David Dabydeen  * David Dabydeen

I grew up in the colony of British Guyana, on the coast of South America. An isolated place, the only English-speaking country on the continent. Culturally West Indian, we were...

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 Bernardine Evaristo  * Bernardine Evaristo

Just what was it that turned me into the kind of person who wants to spend thousands upon thousands of hours sitting completely voluntarily at my desk living in a...

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