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Comment from the book world in March 2019

March 2019

'The seed that sets you off'

18 March 2019

‘I do think that sometimes the seed that sets you off on the process of writing a novel can have been around for many years, even decades, before it actually - for some mysterious reason - comes to fruition . I think it's almost a good sign if an idea has been fermenting for quite a long time in a sort of semi-conscious way.

I've learnt to distrust the staggeringly brilliant new idea that was triggered by something that happened quite recently. Ha ha! You need the dog-eared thing that's been around for a long time, quietly nagging away at you.'

Pat Barker, author of The Silence of the Girls, the Regeneration trilogy, The Eye in the Door and five other novels. https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/16113/pat-barker.html

 

'No writing is wasted'

11 March 2019

'No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can't put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.'

Erin Bow, Canadian YA writer, whose books include Stand on the Sky, The Scorpion Rules and Plain Kate https://www.erinbow.com/

'I'm a writer now'

4 March 2019

'It was only after two years' work that it occurred to me that I was a writer. I had no particular expectation that the novel would ever be published, because it was sort of a mess. It was only when I found myself writing things I didn't realise I knew that I said, 'I'm a writer now.' The novel had become an incentive to deeper thinking. That's really what writing is-an intense form of thought.'

Don DeLillo, author of Running Dog, White Noise, Falling Man, Zero K and 13 other novels