Linda Cracknell is a writer of prose and radio drama. Her short story collections include Life Drawing and The Searching Glance. In 2013 a novel set on the shores of Caithness, Call of the Undertow, was published followed in 2014 by a non-fiction essay collection about walking, Doubling Back, described as a fusion of travel writing, memoir and literary meditation which was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. She is also editor of A Wilder Vein, a non-fiction anthology on the wild places of Britain and Ireland. She lives in Highland Perthshire and is currently writer in residence at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh.
Linda Cracknell in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1995 In a castle in Argyll on a week’s residential course with Liz Lochead as a tutor. It got me started and I didn’t look back.
What do you love about short stories?As a reader, their intensity; as a writer, their mystery. They arrive by stealth through the strangest process which seems to be a mixture of listening, discovery and the number three.
Do you write in other forms?I also write radio plays, non-fiction essays, and novels.
What distracts you from writing?The pull of the outdoors in good weather. (And I suppose I should admit to the usual – toying with emails and facebook.)
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Walking. I need to walk to stay sane and it feeds my writing – the physical exercise, the rhythmic meditation, the observations, the landscape itself and what’s happened in it. There’s nothing more exciting to me than a rucksack and tent on my back and fifty or sixty miles ahead. A bit like writing a story really…
What is your favourite book?I loved David Constantine’s stories collected in ‘The Shieling’ and look forward to reading his new collection.
Who are your favourite writers?Colm Toibin, Thomas Hardy and Janice Galloway, particularly for ‘The Trick is to Keep Breathing’ which was influential in gett
Where is your dream location?I had a month’s writing retreat at a Swiss Château in Lavigny last year. My room looked out on vi
What one item would you put into Room 101?When the short story is looked upon mainly as a form for apprentice-novelists.
Do you have any advice for new writers?Enjoy playing and building up your experience; don’t get preoccupied by publication.
Work by Linda Cracknell:
Do They Know it's Christmas?
Set in Edinburgh's 'Sick Kids' Hospital, this heart-warming seasonal tale tells of a cleaner's interest in the Ebola crisis during the festive season in 2014, a seemingly lonely young girl, and the connections his kindness enables. ‘I held the tip of the pen against the window. Jeez, I’d not drawn a thing since primary school. It was a bit squint but you could tell it was a star. The expression on her face didn’t change but I saw a wee click in her eyes. I started on a Christmas tree.’ A story written as part of Linda Cracknell’s writer’s residency at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, illustrated by Cate James. All author’s royalties go to the Sick Kids Friends Foundation http://www.edinburghsickkids.org/ Scottish Charity No. SC020862.
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