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16 May Mastering the art of dialogue

I keep getting asked how to use dialogue effectively. Recently one author told me that until she’d worked out how to use dialogue, she couldn’t get to grips with her memoir—nor her style. Then yesterday, at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, another writer was bemoaning the fact...

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26 Apr In the British Library

This week I’m writing to you from the grand institution of the British Library in London. I’ve done much of the research here for my novel, trawling through records from eighteenth-century India held in the India Office Records. Now I am in the editing stages...

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24 Dec Last seen … avoiding cake

I’ve just spoken to a friend who is half way through re-writing a 5,000-word piece. ‘Every five minutes I need cake,’ she complained. The puritan in me told her: ‘You shouldn’t have cake until after you’ve done some of it. As a reward.’ She said...

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22 Dec Last seen … creating scenes

Many travel memoir books borrow techniques from fiction. Paul Theroux was one of the first to make extensive use of dialogue in his 1975 bestseller The Great Railway Bazaar. This helped launch the genre of the modern first-person travel narrative. These days travel writing can...

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