October 2014. The Graduates Welcome at Lancaster University was on a chilly Wednesday evening. Hundreds of students gathered in the Great Hall. People from all over the world with one thing in common: curiosity. What else is going to make you pursue further studies through an MA or a PhD?
Several people from the university spoke about how important it’s to sharpen your own critical thinking, or questioning what surrounds you or gaining independent knowledge. Above all speakers there was one who everyone found particularly inspiring. It was a woman who talked about how important it was to pursue the things you like. To surround yourself with your true passions and work hard on them, because what follows hard work is always a result, and statistically there will be bad results but also good results.
She was a writer in the second year of her Creative Writing PhD – among many other things. She talked about how coming to university had made her realise she could try many different things – things she had never dared to do before. One of these things that she was particularly proud of was her radio programme. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘everything can be possible. You can even have your own radio programme if you like, is that not just great?‘
We writers usually assume that ours is a discipline that must be endured in solitude. We usually have so many questions, yearnings, joys and tragedies, but we swallow them all and keep writing. Or maybe we don’t write at all because we’re terrified. This woman, however, talked about sharing and asking questions and being a shameless, happy artist.
How do I write a novel?
What can I do to write every day?
What is genre? Do I need to include my work in any kind of genre?
How can avoid clichés in characters?
Do I need to have a blog to be a writer? Where do I start?
Do I need Facebook or Twitter to promote my work?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, The Writing Life is just what you’re looking for. Back in October 2014 and as an aspiring author myself, I googled this woman’s name – Yvonne Battle-Felton – that evening right after her speech. I discovered The Writing Life then, which was about to start her second season. It was a literary programme, yes, not about books but the practicalities of the craft. All those things you feel you need to know if you want to make a living on words. ‘Excellent,’ I thought, ‘this is going to keep me in the way.’
One year after, we are three young writers involved in this wonderful project, asking questions, bringing you the inspiration you might need to realise that being a writer is as doable as any other path in life – not something reserved for a select few.
Teresa Garanhel is our meticulous editor and producer. She’s like a magician because no matter how wrong things go during the interview – we had builders working in the room next to us, for example, or shameful comments have… well, escaped our lips… – she will fix it so it looks like we are professionals 100% of the time. She’s also a cat lover and writer of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and YA. And she collects mugs.
Kitty Hanley is our other interviewer and official marketing expert – with real experience in London, no less. Thanks to her, the programme looks so fashionable that we’ll be in the BBC in no time. She always knows how to carry the authors nicely and safely through the interview. She writes about Poland and WW2 and cooks delicious banana cakes in her free time.
We’ll bring you authors from all kinds of cultural backgrounds and languages. We’ll bring you poets, prose writers, musicians, painters, writers of literary fiction, writers of genre. We’ll bring you writers who are also lecturers, teachers, editors, bloggers… Join the 3rd season of The Writing Life and be part of a community of storytellers that encourage you weekly to be an author!