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'Read absolutely everything'

22 September 2003

'I think you have to learn for yourself how to write... The most important thing for a writer is to have read absolutely everything you can get your hands on at an early age; and then, hopefully, you will have absorbed good writing through your skin. The more good writing you have read, the easier it is to recognise what is good and bad in your own writing. And though I don't understand how, you know when a piece is finished - after perhaps 100 times of writing and rewriting it, you'll never feel the need to work on it again.'

Kate Atkinson in the Guardian