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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Anne Willan

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
My father was a classics scholar at Oxford and taught me that writing made you think. Written words in the right order are the best way to communicate with others. Speech is so easily lost.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
To cure writers’ block, go away and focus on something different like a walk, or baking a batch of biscuits.

What is your favorite time to write?
I like to write in the morning when my head is uncluttered by inevitable household events.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
I learned when working on a newspaper that the lead sentence is crucial, and preferably should have fewer than ten words. Famous examples include  “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
Today’s world for writers is challenging and just as exciting as it ever was. The written word still can last forever.

Anne Willan’s Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today is out now with Scribner.