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Wendy Cope: ‘My secret love is Strictly Come Dancing’

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The poet, 69, on being a late starter, what she owes psychoanalysis and why giving up smoking is so difficult

Word of mouth is the most important thing that sells books, but you need a few mouths to get the words going. I was 40 when I was first published. I was a single, somewhat lonely, primary school teacher, and suddenly the phone never stopped ringing. It was quite a surprise.

It took me a while to realise what I wanted to do with my life. I used to say I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. At seven, I had an exercise book that I’d write stories in. But then I forgot all about it. It only came back to me in my late 20s after being in therapy.

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