I recently watched Barbara Kingsolver's talk at the 2013 Hay Festival on repeat on Sky Arts, and I have to say, it was very interesting. It made me think about writing in general, and why it is important.
Writing and reading and novels are the only way in which we can absorb ourselves completely in another life. They let us look through someone else's eyes, see a completely different perspective, experience things we never would ourselves. They help us get out of that selfish sense of self; it is not just us in the world, there are others, other lives. As Barbara also said, this is both magical and scary. It is something intruguing and I think this is completely true, and it has also made me want to read some more of Barbara Kingsolver's work.
On my TBR now:
The Poisonwood Bible
And she also emphasised the importance of the first sentence, a tip I will definitely take.