Rose Tremain on writing about subjects removed from her own life

Filed under: Fiction

Rose Tremain discusses writing about subjects far outside her experience.

‘Write about what you don’t know,’ is Rose Tremain’s provocative challenge to students of creative writing, and her work bears witness to her willingness to address subjects far removed from her own life. In The Road Home, she explores the trials and joys of an Eastern European immigrant in 21st-century London. In The Colour, she follows a tormented Englishman to the 19th-century New Zealand gold rush. In Music and Silence, she immerses her readers in the claret-and-candlelight court of the 17th-century Danish King Christian IV. September 2012 saw the publication of Merivel – A Man of his Time, sequel to her Booker short-listed Restoration, which takes her protagonist from the court of King Louis XIV at Versailles to a castle of enlightenment in Switzerland. Talking to her husband, the biographer Richard Holmes, she discusses the delights and dangers of entering imaginatively into strange worlds and minds.

We are grateful to Richard and Jenny Davenport-Hines for sponsoring this event in memory of their son Cosmo.

Recorded on Monday 17 September 2012.

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Rose Tremain 1983