Living in Edinburgh, I consider myself particularly lucky - we have the biggest book festival in the world, a plethora of fascinating libraries and museums, and some of the greatest architecture in Europe.
Most fledgling and mid-list writers are lucky to be offered a 4-figure sum and are not only expected to deliver copy that needs minimal editing but also take an active part in marketing and publicizing their work.
The digital revolution has wrest a little control away from corporate publishers and white, male, middle-aged critics, but the financial value put on the job of the writer and the misconceptions around that make it extremely difficult to enter the profession.
I have an ambivalent relationship with Margaret Thatcher. She came to power in May 1979 - a month before my 11th birthday. I was far too young to have developed a great deal of political awareness. I remember it, though - my mother excited at the dinner table because Britain had its first female prime minister.