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The Write Chat: What does it take to write a book?

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Katie Hale talks to writers Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Helen Mort about the craft of writing, and asks what it takes to write a book.

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Lots of us dream of writing a book. But how do we actually make that dream a reality? What does that journey look like - from idea to finished work - and how do we keep going when it all seems too tough?

Poet & novelist Katie Hale talks to Helen Mort and Rashmi Sirdeshpande about their experiences of writing. Do they have a routine? What are their secrets to staying productive? Are there any pearls of wisdom they would pass on to other writers?

Whether you're a writer, a reader, or someone with a general interest in the creative process, come along to this informal event, where Katie will chat to our two writeers about inspiration, craft and creative techniques, and unpack exactly what it takes to write a book. Remember to bring your own tipple of choice (coffee or cocktails - either works for us)!

Helen Mort is a poet and novelist. She is a five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets award, received an Eric Gregory Award from The Society of Authors in 2007, and won the Manchester Poetry Prize Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her collection Division Street is published by Chatto & Windus and was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her second collection No Map Could Show Them was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Literature Award in Canada. She has published two pamphlets with Tall Lighthouse press. Helen’s first novel Black Car Burning was published by Random House in April 2019. In June 2018 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lectures in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande is a lawyer turned children's author who loves taking big ideas and making them accessible and exciting for young readers. Rashmi writes non-fiction picture books that ignite children's curiosity, as well as fictional stories that crackle with imagination. In 2017/18, she was selected as one of 11 Penguin Random House mentees on the WriteNow programme for underrepresented voices in publishing. Her first book, How To Be Extraordinary, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, was published by Puffin Books in August 2019. Her fiction picture book debut, Never Show a T-Rex a Book, illustrated by Diane Ewen, was published by Puffin Books in 2020. Rashmi lives in Buckinghamshire with her family and when she’s not playing with words, you’ll find her on her yoga mat, twisting herself into all sorts of shapes.

Katie Hale is a poet & novelist, based in Cumbria. Her debut novel, My Name is Monster, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award, and has been translated into multiple languages, and she is the author of two poetry pamphlets: Breaking the Surface and Assembly Instructions, which won the Munster Chapbook Prize. She is a former MacDowell Fellow and has completed a number of international residencies. She has also featured on national television and radio, including programmes such as Radio 4’s Open Book and Front Row, and has created commissioned work for the National Trust, the Barbican Centre, and the BBC Contains Strong Language poetry festival.

Cost: £5

(For each talk, there are 3 free places available for those who would otherwise be unable to attend. Drop me a message if you'd like one of these places.)

The Write Chat is a series of monthly conversations with a series of writers, running online throughout 2021.

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