Colleen McCullough outlines what makes a good writer, 2008

Transcript of sound recording

Not every child is blessed with either teachers or parents or a home life, if you like, that's encouraging. Quite often any attempt that a child makes is going to be put down, for reasons that usually have nothing to do with the child's ability. Those kind of children have to be 'rescued', if you like. Other children have the opposite problem. They're over encouraged and they don't have very much talent.

There really is only one way to practise your writing and that's to read. Unless you've read enough books to have some understanding of what goes into the construction of a book or short story or a play, or whatever it is that you want to write, even a good letter, then you can't really hope to fruitfully produce something along the lines that you want.

I read anything that didn't move. I read the breakfast cereal packet. I read what was printed on the toilet paper in a public toilet. I was an inveterate reader, and I think that inveterate readers have this urge to create what they love to read for themselves, and I think some kinds of embryonic writers are narrow in their tastes, what they read, and that will reflect in what they want to write. Others, like me, very eclectic in their reading taste, very eclectic in what they write.