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'Shocking the psyche'

20 July 2009

'Hobgoblins, chimeras, piles of Medusa heads. You have to keep shocking your psyche, or nothing happens in your writing - nothing charged, nothing enduring. It's imaginary encounters with death that generate life on the page...

'There are plenty of books that tell you how to become a writer, but not one that suggests how, if you want a normal life, you might reverse the process.'

Hilary Mantel, whose latest book is Wolf Hall, in the Observer