Literary Birthday - 23 April - Ngaio Marsh

Happy Birthday, Ngaio Marsh, born 23 April 1895, died 18 February 1982

Seven Quotes

  1. Why do you want to become an author? I will accept only one answer. If it is because you feel you can write better than you can do anything else then go ahead and do it without frills and flourishes. Stick to your present job and write in your spare time: but do it as if it is a whole time job.
  2. You must be able to write. You must have a sense of form, of pattern, of design. You must have a respect for and a mastery over words.
  3. Please don’t entertain for a moment the utterly mistaken idea that there is no drudgery in writing. There is a great deal of drudgery in even the most inspired, the most noble, the most distinguished writing. Read what the great ones have said about their jobs; how they never sit down to their work without a sigh of distress and never get up from it witout a sigh of relief. Do you imagine that your Muse is forever flamelike — breathing the inspired word, the wonderful situation, the superb solution into your attentive ear? … Believe me, my poor boy, if you wait for inspiration in our set-up, you’ll wait for ever.
  4. We worry and fumble and rehash. At two o’clock in the morning we get marvelous ideas and at eight o’clock the following evening we recognise those ideas for the nonsense they are. We have awful sessions when nothing goes right, and brief but blissful sessions when everything seems to go well.
  5. We do not wait for inspiration. We work because we’ve jolly well got to. But when all is said and done, we toil at this particular job because it’s turned out to be our particular job, and in a weird sort of way I suppose we may be said to like it.
  6. Above all things — read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copied.
  7. You may be able to write a novel, you may not. You will never know until you have worked very hard indeed and written at least part of it. You will never really know until you have written the whole of it and submitted it for publication.

Marsh was a New Zealand crime writer who is best known for her creation, Inspector Roderick Alleyn, a gentleman detective. She is known as one of the ‘Queens of Crime’ along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham.

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 by Amanda Patterson

Amanda is the author of Writers Write, a course that specializes in the teaching of fiction writing. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter

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Literary Birthday - 23 April - Halldór Laxness


Happy Birthday, Halldór Laxness, born 23 April 1902, died 8 February 1998

Nine Quotes

  1. The difference between a novelist and a historian is this: that the former tells lies deliberately and for the fun of it; the historian tells lies in his simplicity and imagines he is telling the truth.
  2. The first thing is to have the will; the rest is technique.
  3. For man is essentially alone, and one should pity him and love him and grieve with him.
  4. My motto is strong packaging, clear addressing.
  5. It’s a pity we don’t whistle at one another, like birds. Words are misleading.
  6. Remember, any lie you are told, even deliberately, is often a more significant fact than a truth told in all sincerity.
  7. What you have stolen can never be yours.
  8. People don’t have the imagination to understand politicians. People are too innocent.
  9. Whoever doesn’t live in poetry cannot survive here on earth.

Laxness was an Icelandic writer who wrote poetry, newspaper articles, plays, travelogues, short stories, and novels. He received the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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 by Amanda Patterson

Amanda is the author of Writers Write, a course that specializes in the teaching of fiction writing. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - How to write for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za  

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Literary Birthday - 22 April - Louise Glück

Happy Birthday, Louise Glück, born 22 April 1943

Seven Quotes

  1. It seems to me that the desire to make art produces an ongoing experience of longing… Always there seems something ahead, the next poem or story, visible, at least, apprehensible, but unreachable… It’s like a lighthouse, except that, as one swims towards it, it backs away.
  2. Usually the person who is going to develop into a writer is a sensitive reader and a good critic. When people are good critics, anything can happen. That means there is a deep alertness to syntax, to language.
  3. I think the question of who’s going to be a writer has more to do with intelligence and hunger than anything you would say was talent. There’s a ton of talent, first of all, and it takes you only so far. People with toughness and willingness to start over, combined with really remarkable minds and intense need, those are the people who can become anything.
  4. I feel quite passionately that the degree to which I have, if I have, stayed alive as a writer and changed as a writer, owes much to the intensity with which I’ve immersed myself in the work, sometimes very alien work, of people younger than I, people making sounds I haven’t heard. 
  5. I took my first teaching job, and the minute I started to teach I started to write. I’ve always connected teaching and writing.
  6. Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer.
  7. We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.

Glück is an American poet. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2003.

Source for Image

 by Amanda Patterson

Amanda is the author of Writers Write, a course that specializes in the teaching of fiction writing. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ and Tumblr and Twitter

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - How to write for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za  

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Writers Write - Write to communicate