A Spectator Best Book of the Year
‘There are three rules for writing a novel,' Somerset Maugham once said. ‘Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.'
So how to bring characters to life, find a voice, kill your darlings, avoid plagiarism (or choose not to), or run that most challenging of literary gauntlets—writing a good sex scene?
Veteran editor and author Richard Cohen takes us on a fascinating excursion into the lives and minds of our greatest writers—from Balzac and Eliot to Woolf and Nabokov, through to Zadie Smith and Stephen King, with a few mischievous detours to Tolstoy along the way. In a glittering tour d'horizon, he lays bare their tricks, motivations, techniques, obsessions and flaws.
Richard Cohen is the author of Chasing the Sun and By the Sword, the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton, and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. Born in Birmingham, he lived and worked in London, and represented Britain in fencing in four Olympics. He lives in New York.