“If space flight gets to the point that it’s like jet travel, I’m definitely there. It may just be we actually can’t get very far. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try." Michael Chabon
Tips for writers
Watertight rules

Watertight rules

The hardback edition of James Swallow’s latest novel Nomad was a Sunday Times bestseller last summer. It’s a gripping spy thriller for the post-WikiLeaks world, in which private military contractors, agile terror cells and corporations wield as much power as national intelligence agencies. On the release of the paperback, he shares some words of advice...
Getting started

Getting started

Brit Bennett has just embarked on an exhaustive 15-city US tour to promote her dazzling debut novel The Mothers. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, it’s an emotionally perceptive story about community, love and ambition. She takes a moment to share some rules about choosing what to write and how to go...
Keep the passion

Keep the passion

Marking the relaunch of The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writers of the Year Award, five past winners share their tips and hints for writers still seeking their first break. Andrew Cowan 1. There’s no point in advising you to read because you wouldn’t be a writer unless you were already a reader, would...
Joy, not fear

Joy, not fear

Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, longlisted for the National Book Award, is a subtly subversive novel in two halves about impetuous college sweethearts who marry young and learn valuable lessons across three decades about love, art, creativity and power. She shares some hints about keeping the creative urge in check.   1. The blank page...
Risk and persist

Risk and persist

Umi Sinha’s debut novel Belonging is a beautifully crafted epic of love and loss, ethnicity and homeland, telling the interwoven story of three generations from the darkest days of the British Raj in India to the aftermath of the First World War in rural Sussex. Here are some tips and hints she gleaned from completing the novel, and...
53 ways to improve your short stories

53 ways to improve your short stories

The author of We Don’t Know What We’re Doing has thought quite a bit about how best to approach writing short fiction. We asked him to compile a list of do’s and don’ts and suggested reading that might help practitioners at any stage of their craft. 1. Read Flannery O’Connor. Now. 2. All characters think...
Brevity

Brevity

Benjamin Johncock’s debut novel The Last Pilot is a gritty tale about a US Air Force test pilot who is set to become one of the world’s first astronauts until a crisis in his young family forces him to face the earthbound challenges of fatherhood. His taut, spare prose has been compared with Raymond Carver,...
It's all about you

It’s all about you

Kate Griffin won the 2012 Faber/Stylist Magazine Crime Fiction writing competition. Her entry was the basis for her debut novel Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders, shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger. The second in the series, Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill Fortune, is published by Faber & Faber on...
Think smarter

Think smarter

Laura Lippman’s latest novel Hush Hush sees her ballsy Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan as a flustered new parent plunged into a disturbing case involving the death of an infant and a venomous stalker. She shares her tips on maintaining suspense in crime fiction by keeping readers sympathetic, engaged and always on the alert.   1. Don’t be...
The mindful writer

The mindful writer

So you want to be a writer? According to popular mythology, all you need to do is hole up for a weekend or three, drink copious amounts of coffee and/or smoke a lot of cigarettes and put pen to paper. Words of genius will instantly pour out of you. After that comes The Auction, which...