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Comment from the book world in July 2020

July 2020

‘Dear Aspiring Writer, you are not ready.'

27 July 2020

‘Dear Aspiring Writer, you are not ready. Stop. Put that finished story away and start another one. In a month, go back and look at the first story. RE-EDIT it. Then send it to a person you respect in the field who will be hard on you. Pray for many many many red marks. Fix them. Then put it away for two weeks. Work on something else. Finally, edit one last time. Now you are ready to sub your first work.

Criticism is hard to take at first. Trust me, I've been there. But learn to think of crit marks as a knife. Each one is designed to cut away the bad and leave a scar. Scars prove you've lived, learned and walked away a winner. Any writer who tells you they don't need edits is lying. I don't care if they have 100 books out. Edits make you grow and if you aren't growing as a writer, you are dead.'

Inez Kelley, author of 16 novels, romance and general fiction, including Beauty and the Badge and If Only in Our Dreams.


Bestselling book to major TV series

20 July 2020

‘If something in the script did not ring true in the context of early post-independence India - and how could Andrew possibly have known every detail of that? - I pointed it out, and he took it on board. As for plot cuts and changes; it had been a long time since I wrote A Suitable Boy, so I was somewhat teflonised against what happened to every minor incident or character.

I would not compromise with the essence, the core of the book, but I was less bothered about the periphery. There were several occasions where I thought: "That's brilliant, Andrew. It really works. It may not be what I wrote; but it's true to the spirit of the book and the characters.'

Vikram Seth, author of three novels, A Suitable Boy, The Golden Gate and An Equal Music, three non-fiction books, including From Heaven Lake, and eight books of poetry, talking in The Times about his working relationship with scriptwriter Andrew Davies on the dramatisation of A Suitable Boy which is just about to be shown by the BBC in the UK and by Netflix in India.


'Poetry has had an amazing impact'

13 July 2020

‘People have been washing their hands while reciting 20-second poems and lifting their spirits with longer ones. It's clear from social media that poetry has had an amazing impact during the pandemic, offering solace and inspiration. People have been reading poetry, writing poetry, learning it by heart. It's been a grim time in so many ways, but there's no question; the pick-me-up of poetry has made a powerful and positive difference.'

Gyles Brandreth talking in Bookbrunch about his daily Twitter recitals of favourite poems, many from his anthology, Dancing by the Light of the Moon, which have drawn 1.65 million views since March. Online poetry performances by actors Andrew Scott, Patrick Stewart and Helena Bonham Carter have drawn audiences exceeding 20 million since then.

Writing has so much to give

6 July 2020

‘I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all it is cracked up to be. But writing is.

Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.'

Anne Lamott, author of seven non-fiction books, and the forthcoming Hallelujah Anyway, and two novels, Imperfect Birds and Rosie.