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Comment from the book world in April 2014

April 2014

'Completing a book, it's a little like having a baby.'

21 April 2014

'The world of spying is my genre. My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story. As someone once said, the definition of genius - not that I'm a genius - is to have two conflicting opinions about any one subject and that's what I do all the time. Some call it ambiguity. I call it lack of resolution...

Completing a book, it's a little like having a baby. There's a feeling of relief and satisfaction when you get to the end. A feeling that you have brought your family, your characters, home. Then a sort of post-natal depression and then, very quickly, the horizon of a new book. The consolation that next time I will do it better.'

John le Carré, author of A Delicate Truth and nineteen other novels, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven

'A lot of energy and stamina and patience'

14 April 2014

'I don't dedicate my day to poetry like you would do with a job. You can't get yourself a office and sit there from 9 to 5 writing poems - it just doesn't work. With prose I can knock it out, but it's an effort to write poems because they're so intense. You need a lot of energy and stamina and patience to just sit there and fall under a poem's spell. I'm not casual with my poetry, though. When I'm engaged and writing poems I'm completely disciplined and deadly serious. I really mean it...

You need real commitment and passion to write poems. If you haven't got that you wouldn't be able to put up with all the knockbacks and failure. When I first started sending poems out to small magazines I could have wallpapered a medium-size bedroom with rejection slips. You have to fail many, many times and write a lot of shit poems before they start to read well. But if poetry is what you absolutely want to do, then you can't help it; you'd still be writing irrespective of whether you had any affirmation or success.'

Simon Armitage, whose latest books are The Death of King Arthur and Black Roses, in The Times

'Prose that draws attention to itself'

5 April 2014

'I do not wish to write prose that draws attention to itself, rather than the world it describes. I write quickly partly because of my own boredom threshold. The experience of being absorbed in a book is one of the best experiences you can have. There is a way of engaging with a larger readership. It is troubling that what we regard as important books are basically taking no part in the cultural conversation in this country.'

Nick Hornby, author of A Long Way Down and About a Boy in The Times

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