Swallowed By a Whale: How to Survive the Writing Life


Delighted to have an essay, ‘To the Temple’, in this new title from British Library Publishing (edited by Huw Lewis-Jones), which answers budding writers’ and readers’ burning questions on the writing process, from philosophical outlooks to practical advice. It covers an extremely wide range of genres including adult fiction bestsellers, children’s authors and illustrators, poets, essayists and biographers.

“Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale.” – Gabriel García Márquez

In this specially-commissioned anthology, sixty accomplished authors share secrets and insights into their writing lives: on their inspirations, methods, wild ideas and daily routines; on the pleasure and the pain in achieving their literary goals; on how they started out and how they hope to continue. They outline some golden rules for staying on track and talk candidly about what goes wrong as well as right. We hear from novelists, poets, biographers, and children’s writers; illustrators, campaigners, teachers, mothers, husbands, an entrepreneur turned surfboard shaper, a quantum physicist, an opera librettist, and a Laureate who loves dragons. All writers.

We have emerging talents in our team alongside much-loved authors whose books have sold in millions. Each reflects in their own way on the creative process and the compulsion to write. How to find inspiration? How to get the words right? How to cope with writer’s block? How to handle bad reviews? How to become a better reader? Pencil or computer? Inside or out? And where do the good ideas really come from?

Swallowed by a Whale includes contributions from: Kwame Alexander, Anthony Browne, Cressida Cowell, Isabelle Dupuy, Inua Ellams, Lev Grossman, Joanne Harris, Catherine Johnson, Thomas Keneally, Neal Layton, David Mitchell, Beverley Naidoo, Chibundu Onuzo, Chris Riddell, Francesca Simon, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Piers Torday, Raynor Winn and many more.

Publisher: British Library Publishing Ltd
Published: 29/10/2020
ISBN: 978-0712353038