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A Space to Write

A Space to Write

Mac Dunlop photographed by Steve Tanner

If 2016 finds you yearning to be more creative the brand new book A Space to Write featuring Cornish writers talking about the hows – and more specifically – the wheres of their writing process will be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Insightful, romantic and beautifully photographed this is a book to savour.

A Space to Write begins with a foreward from Michael Morpurgo who says each of his novels begin with months, sometimes years of ‘dreamtime’, where he researches the story and gets to know his characters. He only puts pen to paper (yes he’s committed to the old fashioned way) once ‘the story is ready to tell” and fascinatingly, he writes in bed where he feels most comfortable (a tip he gleaned from a biography about Robert Louis Stevenson, his writing hero).

The portraits in the book, taken by the acclaimed Cornish photographer Steve Tanner, all in black and white, effortlessly capture the solitariness, peace and sometimes the quirkiness that comes with life as a professional writer. There are writers photographed in bed, on motorway bridges, in the sea, amidst the classic book lined, mug-strewn study.

Below writer and film maker Jane Darke photographed by Steve Tanner


Budding authors will find plenty of inspirational advice in this book – from the common sense to the entirely offbeat.

Rebecca Gregson writes wherever she won’t be interrupted including long stints in the back of her car or other people’s houses.

She says: “I am so easily distracted and cannot bear to be surrounded by my own cluttered life.”

Philip Marsden works in a purpose-built writing room in a field next to his house, getting up very early, often while it’s still dark.

He says: “I find I work better in winter – less light helps to set the imagination a-whirr and makes the act of sitting in a chair less burdensome.”

Jane Pugh often chooses to write in busy cafes, “I enjoy the counterpoint of quite noisy places where you are forced to concentrate.’

If she takes a notebook out with her she says her mind goes blank so instead she writes down ideas on her arms and hands and trusts her memory.

“If something is important I will remember it.”

The poet Seth Hampshire often takes to his BMX bike to trigger new ideas.

“I see writing as a series of islands and bridges – I know the islands I want to visit but sometimes I get stuck on an island. Going out on my pushbike or taking a brisk walk helps me figure out how to build a bridge to the next island.”

Below novelist Patrick Gale by Steve Tanner

A Space to Write is the perfect coffee table book, something to dip into from time to time but it is also a tool for encouragement. The message is clear – just get out there and do it.

Michael Morpurgo says: “Every writer faces the blank page or blank screen and simply has to make a start. It is a great encouragement to us all, to know that the great writers have all had to begin like this.”
A Space to Write is a Kernow Education Arts Partnership project, curated by Amanda Harris. The book costs £19.99 and proceeds will help support writers working in schools throughout Cornwall.

More information and copies of the book from http://aspacetowrite.co.uk and http://thestoryrepublic.co.uk

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