‘To write is to pour one’s innermost self passionately upon the tempting paper, at such frantic speed that sometimes one’s hand struggles and rebels, overdriven by the impatient god who guides it – and to find, next day, in place of the golden bough that bloomed miraculously in that dazzling hour, a withered branch and a stunted flower.’

– Colette, Vagabond


‘Paris is looking very nice tonight. … You are looking very nice tonight, my beautiful, my darling, and oh what a bitch you can be!’

– Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

‘The impulse can be made to sound theoretical, and even philosophical, but it is, no doubt, as physical as our blood and marrow. This inhsatiable desire to write something before I die, this ravaging sense of shortness and feverishness of life, make me cling… to my one anchor – so Virginia Woolf, in her diary, speaks for us all.’

– Joyce Carol Oates, The Faith of a Writer


‘Since writing is ideally a balance between the private vision and the public world, the one passionate and inchoate, the other formally constructed, quick to categorise and assess, it’s necessary to think of this art as a craft. Without craft, art remains private. Without art, craft is merely hackwork.’

– Joyce Carol Oates, The Faith of a Writer


‘This was the first time she had ever worn an evening dress. She stood for a long time before the mirror. She was so tall that the dress came up two or three inches above her ankles – and the shoes were so short they hurt her. She stood in front of the mirror a long time, and finally decided she either looked like a sap or else she looked very beautiful. One or the other.’

– Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter