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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Writing The Landscape Around You

Ahead the publication of his debut novel Mostyn Thomas and The Big Rave, author Richard Williams discusses the inspiration behind his writing, and why he didn't have to look too far from home for it. 

As a debut writer with no formal literature training/education, the only way I knew I could pull off writing the novel was to be honest and write what I know. This made things quite easy – no real research was required and no studying random strangers’ facial movements on train platforms was ever necessary. I just pictured the people I grew up around, and took quirks from most of them to develop ‘best of’ Pembrokeshire characters – hybrids of four or five different local people to create each individual character in the novel.

I wanted to write about farming, particularly the challenges for the rural industry at the time the novel is set. More often than not Welsh farmers are portrayed as a bit backward, even “twp” (stupid in Welsh) in television and literature. So I …

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Literary Lessons: Gratitude

Rachel Knightley

From The Flame by Leonard Cohen (Canongate)

Leonard Cohen’s poetry was sometimes set to music, sometimes sung, sometimes accompanied cartoons, sketches and symbols – the Order of the Unified Hearts intertwining two Stars of David with heart-shaped bends at their tops; the brimmed hat he would doff in concert to the music, to its source, to his audience, to life itself – but whether it appeared in books or in albums, it was always poetry first.

The Flame is edited posthumously, and published just under two years after Leonard Cohen’s death on 7 November 2016. There is a foreword by his son, Adam Cohen, and his editors by Robert Faggen and Alexandra Pleshoyano, in which each says of Leonard Cohen what Leonard Cohen so often and well said of life itself: how unworthy we feel our choices might have been, how unequal we feel to the task. Yet what his verses, his music and, yes, his singing, taught with heartbreaking clarity was that that very appreciation – that gratitude – was

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Writing Children's Fiction Competition: Winner Revealed!

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Team announce the winner and 9 commended entries for the Writing Children's Fiction Competition with Kickback Media...

A massive thank you to everyone who entered our children's fiction writing competition with Kickback Media. The esteemed panel of judges took great delight in reading through each entry and entering the different magical worlds conjured up within each submission.

Without further ado, let's announce the winner shall we?

We're pleased to reveal that the winning entry is...

The Touchstone Diary by Jennifer Watson



This is what our panel of judges had to say about the The Touchstone Diary and why it is a worthy winner:

"We were particularly impressed by the fresh and distinctive voice in The Touchstone Diary and its strong, intriguing sense of character. The energy and immediacy in Jennifer Watson's prose quickly pull the reader into her story world in just 2,000 words and her confident, vivid writing evokes a striking gothic …

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Is Writing For TV the Same as Writing a Book?

‘I’ve written for children my whole career, writing a novel for children will be a piece of cake, right?’ WRONG.

I have been writing for CBeebies for nearly seven years now, scripts, sketches, poems, songs – you name it, I’ve written it. The turnover of writing at BBC Children’s is fast paced, relentless and absolutely I thrive off it!

I can chat your ear off about how to write a script for Elmo or a song about brushing your teeth, but writing a novel? I’m a complete newbie. 

Last year I decided to go part time and face a new writing challenge, my thought process being something along the lines of: I already write scripts for a living, writing a book is just the same but in a different format, let’s give this a go.

Wow. I did not anticipate the gear change. 

I did not anticipate how utterly lost I would feel in a world that I am supposedly so familiar with. 

But tell me I am not alone in this? There must be some writers out …

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Literary Lessons: Voice

From Melmouth by Sarah Perry (Serpent's Tail 2018)

Rachel Knightley - Melmoth


If you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve felt the ‘what now?’ at the end of a book you’ve loved. It’s most likely to happen with the strongest authorial voices, those fully in command of their world and message. Sarah Perry’s Melmoth is full, sharp and wittily observant in both the story and the telling. Distinctively articulate, it remains unassuming, clarifying without upstaging the action. This is a masterclass in authorial voice, and a solid marriage between research and originality, creating a sparklingly authentic world. 

Melmoth begins with a chance meeting in the street between Helen Franklin – a Prague-based translator living in self-made isolation and penitence for a secret crime of which she accuses herself – and one of the rare people who have managed to slip under the net of her self-denial to become a friend. His panic, and the papers that have come into his possession by the death of a friend …

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