The Stories We Tell


To become the person we want to be, we need to imagine that person. To become the world we want to be, we need to imagine that world. ‘The universe is made of stories,’ said the American poet Muriel Rukeyser, ‘not atoms.’ It’s a tantalising thought.

When we stretch our imaginations, they give back. We make connections. Ideas and images drop like gifts. We also start to see that everyone has a universe within.

The stories we tell are the luminous strands of life that connect us. They let us see through the eyes of those we thought were strangers. They allow us to slip under the skin of another.

To tell a good story, you take a risk. You commit. You daydream. In the process, you discover strengths you didn’t know you had: an eye for detail, an ear for rhythm, a knack for delivering a powerful image to the page.

In this new series, THE STORIES WE TELL, leading writers will share with you some of the inspirations, challenges and discoveries that led to the writing of their own stories, novels and poems.

Whoever you are, whatever your background, whether you’re just beginning to write, have a shoebox full of pages under your bed, or are publishing already, we’re glad you’re here.

Every month, one or two remarkable writers will tell you a story about the making of their own stories. They’ll speak honestly, writer to writer, about the labour and the challenges. They’ll explore some of the quirks and mysteries of their own story or writing life. They’ll ponder what it means to be writing today, in the here and now. They’ll offer insights. They’ll be open about the setbacks. They’ll share with you some of the joy.


Alison MacLeod

Series Editor

The Stories We Tell

Bernardine Evaristo – The Stories We Tell

01 Oct 2019 / The Stories We Tell

These Things I Know
During my career I have often felt like the snail overtaken by many hares.  I…

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