MSLEXIA ISSUE 51
I S T O C K P H O T O
Iwas recently asked in an interview, ‘If you could only read or write, which would you choose?’ An impossible question, it seems to me. I write like cats eat meat – without it, they grow sickly and die, and that’s how I feel about my work.
But what fuels my writing is my reading. I came to writing because I was a reader first, and I was a reader because of the public library system. Our library had a huge range of books and magazines and that’s where I cut my teeth on the possibilities of other people’s worlds. My parents, my teachers and the librarians all encouraged me to read.
That seems to me to be one of the best gifts we can give anyone: the encouragement to enter other worlds through reading, then to embody our own imagination by writing. Mslexia has done both since its inception; how could I resist the opportunity to play in such a brilliant toybox?
VAL MCDERMID was a journalist for 15 years before she escaped into full-time writing. Her 25th novel, The Retribution (Little, Brown), came out in September. An international bestseller, her awards include the CWA Diamond Dagger, the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the CWA Gold Dagger, the Portico Prize for Fiction and the Stonewall Writer of the Year. She is a regular broadcaster for BBC radio.
Today’s e-book power buyer is a 44-year-old woman who loves romance and is spending more on buying books Kelly Smith, p 8
features ‘DCIs never interview anyone. It’s all done by detective constables or sergeants. And nobody shouts’ SALLY WAINWRIGHT, p 51 my experience as a student illustrated the absurdity of trying to turn creative writing into an academic exercise CILA WARNCKE, p 13 the winning poem stood out for the way it highlighted the oddness and discomfort of ‘normal’ life continuing when there is war going on JO SHAPCOTT, p 27 people actually want to know what people were singing and eating and wearing in 6th Century Constantinople STELLA DUFFY, p 16 what BitterBitch proves is wildly hopeful for women writers: it is possible to create a sellable novel about feminism VIV GROSKOP, p 59
Your Mslexia 4 Letters, emails, posts, tweets, blogs What’s new 6 …in the writing world, on the web, in our lives Agenda 8 e-pportunities: Kelly Smith on what the digital revolution has to offer women writers Features 13 Are you getting your money’s worth?
Cila Warncke on what’s wrong with the teaching of creative writing 16 Confessions of a genre slut: Stella Duffy reflects on her journey into the unsettling territory of historical fiction 18 Arvon redux: Ruth Wade reflects on the value of an Arvon course Writing life 21 Big question: Have you ever written about sex? Little question: What conditions do you need for writing? 22 Objects of desire 23 Life coach: Bekki Hill helps a writer who is reluctant to embark on a course 24 Make a difference: The Poppy Project working with trafficked women 25 Make a splash: start a campaign Time and money: feature writing New writing 27 Jo Shapcott introduces the winners of our
2011 Women’s Poetry Competition 28 How I did it: the winner tells all Inspiration 43 Fiction masterclass: Jane Rogers on third person voices 44 What went horribly wrong for Meg Rosoff 45 Writing for children aged 8-12: a guide by
Katherine Langrish 46 The creative mix: writing exercises,
monologue, 4 lines that rhyme, plus advice from novelist Juliet E McKenna 47 Blue Pencil by Debbie Taylor Pen Portrait 49 Making a poem the Linda Gregerson way, interviewed by Fiona Sampson Interview 51 Sally Wainwright talks to Danuta Kean Books 55 Books to look out for: Danuta Kean on
Black and Asian writing 56 Vox pop: Thames Ditton Public Library What’s Hot: Sheila Crowley 57 A book to change your life, by Elizabeth
Buchan; Indie Press: Peter Owen; How I did it: TheTruthAboutCeliaFrost 58 Book group: TheWineofSolitude; Poetry and short story reviews 59 What’s new in feminist writing, by Viv
Groskop 60 How to write a bestseller: WhenGodWas
ARabbit 61 Submitting and subscribing to Mslexia Directory 63 Opportunities: competitions, calls for submissions, grants, courses 68 Out and About: events and workshops in your area And finally 74 Sarah Brown’s bedtime reading Mslexiapublication details
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