Louise Smith writes: I was born in Coventry, birthplace of Philip Larkin and the Ska revival. One day I’d like to write something as good as Ghost Town and be able to carry off a brown mac as seedily as Philip. I did the whole university thing, studied English Literature at Cambridge, but I was turned off by academia and creatively blocked so after that I moved to London – drifted into TV and advertising work. My thing was documentaries – oh yeah- and getting high. I’m in the first year of the part-time Birkbeck Creative Writing MA. What have I learnt so far? Even if you can write it’s still hard to be a writer worth reading. Don’t expect anyone to really get it. Flattery and wine are acceptable substitutes in measured doses. I’ve always been into detective fiction but since I started the course I’ve become more interested in horror and science fiction. Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually a poet. But that might be because I’m lazy.