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'That private world of the imagination'

17 March 2003

'I came to writing through reading, and read at first without direction or advice, and for nothing but pleasure… Later, when I began to write, it was little more than an extension of reading, without any thought of publication. Each of us inhabits a private world that others cannot see, and it is with this world we read. As we read, the world the writer has dramatised and set down in words is brought to life in that private world of the imagination. By playing with words, by arranging and rearranging sentences, certain shapes or dramas began to emerge that found their first expression in reading; then, gradually, very gradually, it became work.'

John McGahern in the Guardian Review