Why I write

From 2008 to 2010, I held a highly enjoyable post as academic writer-in-residence at Leeds Trinity University, under the Royal Literary Fund‘s fellowship programme – which places professional, published writers in universities to help students improve their academic writing skills through one-to-one tutorials.

RLF logoAs part of the scheme, ‘fellows’ are asked to produce occasional articles or web posts about our work and writing practices, including one piece entitled “Why I write.” It was fascinating to reflect on what motivates me to write and, as I tried to put my thoughts down, I realised that, while I’d spent much of my adult life writing fiction, I’d seldom, if ever, stopped to wonder why.

Well, the RLF has decided to collect and publish a series of these pieces on its website in audio format, spoken by the authors themselves. Mine was recorded recently at a hotel in Leeds, with the help of producer Yasir Amir. Despite being a prose writer, I decided to write it in the form of a list poem. Here are the opening lines:

Why I write . . .
Because, as an only child, I grew up with the stories I invented for myself (on paper, with my toys, in my head).
Because I read a lot when I was a boy.
Because, when I was ten, a teacher praised a story I wrote.

To hear the whole piece, please click here. This will take you to the page on the RLF website where my audio is stored and from where you can navigate to “Why I write” recordings by other present or former fellows, including Beatrix Campbell, Tibor Fischer, Mick Jackson, Anthony McGowan and many more.

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