Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Interview with Rhiannon Lewis

 

Today, I am delighted to be talking to award-winning novelist and short fiction writer, Rhiannon Lewis. Her new collection, I Am the Mask Maker, comprises eleven of her compelling short stories, and will be published by Victorina Press on 30th October.


 THE BOOK

A collection of award-winning short stories which transport us from plague-ridden Renaissance Venice to a failing antiquarian bookshop in inner-city London, from a struggling family farm in 1960s West Wales to a soon to be discontinued Heaven where the angels are packing up to leave. Vividly-drawn, with wit and subtlety, Lewis’s characters are determined not to be pawns in worlds where the odds are stacked against them; to survive they often come up with solutions which are unconventional and unexpected. Includes the William Faulkner Literary Contest winner, ‘Piano Solo’.

THE AUTHOR 


THE INTERVIEW


Congratulations on this brilliant collection. Many of the stories have won awards or been shortlisted for writing competitions. You must have been particularly thrilled to win the William Faulkner contest last year?

Thank you. Yes, I was thrilled, particularly as I was the first UK winner since the competition was established in 1997. I still can’t get over the fact that my story meant something to a judge from as far away as New Albany, Mississippi. The competition is held annually in William Faulkner’s hometown. Under normal circumstances the prize would have been awarded at a dinner for over a hundred guests. Because of Covid-19 I wasn’t able to travel there to accept the prize. One day, when things are safer, I’d love to go there to see William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, and his hometown of New Albany. 




Who are your favourite short story writers and have they had an influence on your writing style?

I don’t have a favourite as such. I think you can learn something from every writer and there are so many good writers to choose from. I would have to mention Raymond Carver. His stories seem so banal on the face of it, but utterly striking – the way they get under your skin. 'The Fox' by D H Lawrence is one of my favourite short stories of all time. I go back to it time and time again. I love the way he creates a feeling of impending disaster right from the start. Lately, I’ve been reading the work of Jean Rhys. She breaks ‘the rules’ all the time, which I love. Though you shouldn’t read Jean Rhys if you’re feeling in the least bit depressed.

Your stories are set in many different countries and locations – how important is a sense of place in your work?

When you write a short story or a novel, it is necessary for you to want to be in that place for a while. I’ve started many stories and then thought, oh, I really don’t want to spend too long in this place – it’s not interesting enough or it’s too close to something I know too well and can’t be objective about. Often, taking a story and transposing it to a different place altogether, perhaps even somewhere you have to make an effort to research, can give a story a new lease of life and a better perspective. A sense of place is very important but so is imagination. Writers are told all the time to write about what you know. But don’t forget your imagination! That’s the most useful thing of all.

Who is your favourite character in your stories and what do you love about him or her?

I love all my characters! Saying that, I would rather be stuck on a desert island with some rather than others. One or two would know exactly how to build a tree house and find something to eat. Others would just curl up under a palm and be of no use whatsoever unless they had a piano with them, which would be unlikely on a desert island. Of all the characters I’ve written about, Aeronwy in 'The Significance of Swans' is the one I admire most. She manages to stay sane in a situation which would defeat most of us, including myself. Davy, the lead character in My Beautiful Imperial is the one I would want to have with me on a desert island, however. He’d know how to build a boat and how get us home in one piece, no matter what the conditions. And he’d probably make me laugh quite a bit on the way.

You write novels as well as short fiction. What are the different challenges you face when crafting these alternative forms?

I think of a short story as a sprint and a novel more like a marathon. Or to use another analogy, when you’re embarking on a novel, it is a bit like boarding a ship that’s bound for another continent. You have to be prepared to be there for a long time. You know there will be hardships and challenges, as well as adventures and excitement. You have to have faith that you’ll get there in the end. Some short stories come to you fully formed. Others start with a single line and you go from there. With a longer work, I don’t like to plan too much. I’m not one of these writers who outlines everything on a pin-board and knows exactly what they’re going to be writing in each single chapter. What would be the fun in that? I will have a vague idea of where the book is going – especially if I’m writing historical fiction and I’m trying to stay faithful to the facts – but on the whole I like to start off not knowing too much about what’s ahead. That way, the story and the characters can grow through the story. Writing a short story or a novel should feel like an adventure not a chore. 




Your debut novel, My Beautiful Imperial, was based on the experiences of your great-great uncle who inadvertently became involved in the Chilean civil War of 1891. It must have been fascinating to dig deep into your family history? Was his story something you had been wanting to write about and explore for some time, or did you learn about it more recently?

I spent over twenty years researching the story of the steamship Imperial and my great-great uncle’s involvement in the Chilean civil war. At the time, I was working full-time so there was no possibility of writing a novel. And in any case, the research was something I was doing for my own interest. Gradually, it became clear to me that the whole story would be completely forgotten if no one wrote about it. At around 4am on 11 April 2011 I scribbled the date on the top of a school exercise book and began writing, thinking that I wouldn’t stop until I’d told the whole story. It took me three years of writing in my spare time but now it’s there for everyone to read.

Your publishers, Victorina Press, believe very strongly in the principles of bibliodiversity. What does this mean to you personally and was it a factor in your decision to submit your work to them?

I’d never heard of the principle of bibliodiversity before I met the founder of Victorina Press, Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, but it means a great deal to me. When you start writing, people are desperate to put you into a particular box or category. I was a woman, writing about a man who had taken part in a civil war on the other side of the world. I was also Welsh, but writing in English. Neither I, nor my work, seemed to fit into any convenient box. Consuelo was prepared to look beyond these things and to read my work on its own merits. I was so pleased that My Beautiful Imperial was recommended by the Walter Scott Prize Academy soon after it was published because it was the best way to repay Consuelo’s faith in my story. I love the fact that Victorina Press is publishing books by such a diverse and ever-expanding group of voices.


What can we hope to see from you next? More short stories, a new novel, or something else?

This autumn, I really want to get my teeth into another longer piece of work. I’m researching a few different ideas at the moment. There’s nothing like the feeling of being immersed to the point where the work and the characters sometimes feel more real than what’s around you, day to day. But we’ll see. The short stories have way of butting in when you least expect them!

Thank you for talking to me today, Rhiannon. Good luck with I Am the Mask Maker – I hope it flies off the shelves!

You can pre-order I Am the Mask Maker here.



Thursday, 30 September 2021

Interview with the poet, Jennifer Langer

 


I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Langer to Troutie McFish Tales to talk about her newly released poetry chapbook, The Search, which I had the privilege of editing for Victorina Press.

THE POET

A long-time writer of poetry for herself, Jennifer’s work has been published in various magazines and she is a member of an inspiring poets’ collective. Jennifer is editor of four anthologies of exiled literature: The Bend in the Road: Refugees Writing (1997), Crossing the Border: Exiled Women’s Writing (2002), The Silver Throat of the Moon: Writing in Exile (2005) and If Salt Has Memory: Contemporary Jewish Exiled Writing (2008) all published by Five Leaves. She is lead editor of Resistance: Voices of Exiled Writers (Palewell, 2020). She is founding director of Exiled Writers Ink which brings together established and developing migrant and refugee writers from repressive regimes and war-torn situations. Established in 2000, it is an ever-expanding organisation that provides a space for exiled writers to be heard, develops and promotes their creative literary expression, and crucially advocates human rights through literature and literary activism. 

Previously co-editor of Exiled Ink magazine, she has written numerous articles on aspects of the literature of exile and has presented papers both in the UK and overseas, ranging from Casablanca to Gothenburg. She also reviews poetry, memoir, fiction and research focusing on migration, exile, memory and identity. She holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in Cultural Memory and Literature by Exiled Iranian Jewish Women, and an MA in Cultural Memory from the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is currently a SOAS Research Associate. Jennifer is the daughter of refugees who escaped from Nazi Germany and who met in England. Her parents were both the sole survivors of their respective families.


THE COLLECTION

The Search is an exploration of the poet’s complex sense of identity as the daughter of German Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany for Britain. Crucially, her sensibility of otherness is dialogically engaged with contemporary refugees and the oppressed. Born of the history of loss and of refugee roots, the poet dreams of a lost world attempting to snatch at fragments and striving to create a narrative yet she is also compelled to confront current tensions arising from the diverse facets of this identity. Engaged in the attempt to resist negative representations projected onto herself, she struggles to define herself.

 You can order a copy of The Search HERE


 THE INTERVIEW


In the very personal opening poem of The Search, a friend asks “where do you really come from?”, a question which heralds the main theme of your collection. As the daughter of German Jewish refugees, your identity is complex, and I see these multi-layered and immersive poems as an attempt to make sense of the past and to discover your true self. Was that a deliberate journey you embarked upon, or did the collection grow in a more organic way?

Born of the history of memory of loss, I dreamed of a lost world and snatched at fragments, striving to create a narrative. I have written numerous articles, particularly for Second Generation Voices, about my insights, experiences and journeys of exploration over the years. As I delve deeper and deeper into my parents’ and relatives’ stories and fates, I feel more and more connected to the once anonymous faces in the photos I first saw as a child. Somehow, I felt the emotional need to articulate my search, pain and mourning in poetry. These are the poems that I wrote over a long period. To conclude, I would say that the collection grew in an organic way.

You don’t limit yourself to examining your own experiences in these poems, you also cast your net much wider, to show us an entire world of displaced and exiled characters. Where did the inspiration come from for these poems – and are some of them based on people and situations you have encountered when travelling?

Some of the travelling has taken the form of a search for roots over many years. My visceral feelings of outsiderness and difference have caused me to empathise with the marginalised of society, particularly asylum seekers and refugees. Frequently there is a dialogical engagement between poems about my background and poems about ‘the other’ so that some of my poetry reveals a concern with outsiders and victims such as the Herero tribe, Calais migrants and the Palestinians, amongst others. As a traveller you are an outsider in a new environment observing with detachment, unless of course, one’s own identity feels intertwined, as it was in Namibia.


You are the Director of Exiled Writers Ink – could you tell us a little bit about that. How important is EWI to you and how has it informed your writing over the years?

As the founding director of an organisation that was never planned but has grown enormously over the years to meet a need, EWI is very important to me. Established in 2000, Exiled Writers Ink recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with an anthology titled Resistance.

The organisation brings together established, emerging and aspiring refugee and migrant writers. It develops and promotes their creative literary expression, encourages cross-cultural dialogue, and advocates human rights through literature and literary activism. Our work comprises creative writing workshops, training, live literature performance events, theatre, mentoring, translation, publications, symposia, poetry competitions and road shows. Our theatre projects have included productions in partnership, performed in the UK and in Poland, Italy and Bosnia.

Having read and listened to the work of exiled writers over many years, as well as having shared experiences with them such as running workshops together, I have been privileged to gain insights into their experiences and sensibility, be it nostalgia, anger, trauma, the state of exile and more, including love. I have also absorbed a richesse of imagery and form such as ghazal and Sufi poetry. 

Yet, while I have undoubtedly been affected by their pain and have written about it, I have been wary of speaking in their voice in order not to define them.

What was your biggest challenge when writing this collection?

I had written some early poems in a fairly spontaneous manner with minimal editing. The challenge was to become more disciplined through controlling form, tone, line breaks, metre and so on. In recent years, I have attended a City Lit course, craft of poetry sessions and book launches by established poets and in addition, I am an avid reader of poetry. These have all lead to increased awareness of what is involved in writing interesting, inspiring poetry. A further challenge is that poetry editing never ends!

What did you enjoy most about writing the collection?

The sense of achievement in creating a poem to my satisfaction.


I know you have a busy life. Is it difficult to find the time and space for your writing?

It is difficult although I love exploring ideas and expressing myself through writing in both non-fiction prose and in poetry. Although my intention is always to start the day by working on a poem and shutting myself off from all the demands and pressures in ‘a room of my own’, I somehow invariably succumb to them.

Your publishers, Victorina Press, believe very strongly in the principles of bibliodiversity. What does this mean to you personally and was it a factor in your decision to submit your work to them?

I have to admit that the first time I heard about bibliodiversity was at one of the Victorina Press book launches and although I was unfamiliar with the term, I support all that it stands for. As the founding director of Exiled Writers Ink, whose fundamental aim is to enable the voices of refugee and migrant writers to be heard in society, I realise that bibliodiversity is key in informing our ethos. In fact, I submitted my work to Victorina because of their record in publishing cutting edge work of quality that provides new insights and of course I was thrilled at Consuelo’s positive response to my poetry.  

What is next for you as a writer? Another poetry collection or something else?

Yes, I aim to write a poetry collection and currently continue to write poems, some of which I hope to eventually submit to literary magazines. I would also like to convert my doctoral thesis into a book.


Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. It's lovely to finally see The Search in print and I really hope it all goes well for you!



You can order a copy of The Search HERE

Monday, 13 September 2021

Interview With Nour Morjan

 

 

Today I’m welcoming Nour Morjan to Troutie McFish Tales to talk about her forthcoming poetry chapbook, I Am the Power You Undermine, which is out on September 30th from Victorina Press.


THE POET

“Don’t tell me stories about great kings/tell me stories about great queens who ran the world/ and were never heard of/ Don’t tell me what to become/let me become what I want/ Don’t use religion against me/or threaten me with hell/Being a slave to a man is hell enough”.


Nour Morjan is a feminist Syrian immigrant living in Shropshire. Her poems express a powerful belief in a woman’s right to own her body and she questions patriarchal societies and deep-rooted religious impositions. In Nour's poetry, she explores the internal battles she faces in her continuing search to find a sense of belonging, which she lost after moving to the UK. In constant dialogue with herself, she experiences loss of identity, cultural shock, but also self-growth. Living between cultures has given her an insight into what makes her a woman. 

 


Welcome, Nour! I must confess right away to my readers that I was the editor of I Am the Power, and therefore I feel personally invested in your collection. It struck me when I first read the poems that many of them feel as though they are a spontaneous outpouring of strong emotions. This gives them a freshness and immediacy, as though you wrote them in a very short timeframe. In reality, how long did it take you to write this debut collection and how much re-drafting did you do before you were happy to send it out into the world?

Thank you for having me here – and of course thank you for all your help with editing my pamphlet. You are spot on, the majority of my poems were written as a spontaneous outpouring of my feelings and emotions. I wrote most of them while on the bus on my daily journey to university at the time, or when I was in a new place which inspired me or helped me explore different feelings. I wrote the poems over a period of five years or so. Individually – apart from a few exceptions – most of them did not take me long to write. For some poems, I would write the initial line as a prompt, and would then leave it for a few days, weeks, or even months, until I had explored my feelings again and knew how to translate them into a poem.
    Initially, I wasn’t planning on publishing a collection, but when I was told that my poems stood a good chance of being published, I started considering re-drafting them with that in mind. I completed the initial re-drafting when I did my first ever live reading during the Refugee Week – a yearly event celebrated nationally. After that, I re-visited my poems more frequently, reading them out loud sometimes to listen to how they sounded. I finally submitted them to Victorina Press and they were accepted for publication.
 
I Am the Power You Undermine is a very personal piece of work, exploring your experiences and challenges as an immigrant, and your search for identity. I know you describe yourself as a Muslim feminist, and that you have very strong opinions on abortion rights, the restrictions of patriarchal societies and religious impositions. Have you ever been reluctant to express these beliefs for fear of judgement, or have you always had the courage and confidence to speak out about them? And do you think your writing has helped you to get your message across?

In all truthfulness, I was reluctant for a very long time to express my views, which I knew were radical. Coming from a very conservative Muslim society, I was always anxious about how my feminism would be received, especially when it came to comparing the things men or boys were entitled to compared to the choices that I, as a girl, and later as a woman, was given. I did argue with people around me about some of these topics, and the response was always either rejection or some form of policing. This fear haunted me for a very long time, and was the very reason why I wanted to move abroad. I wanted to have the space to explore my feminism and allow myself to grow as a woman. I fought a lot of mental battles around my religion and my society, and I had to do a lot of unlearning – exploring and challenging both myself and the society around me, including some religious people. This in turn affected my mental health. At one point, these battles were so hard to fight that I lost the will to live. Some people don’t understand that feminism isn’t just about women’s rights but also about the extent of the damage that the patriarchy has inflicted on us and on society – affecting men as well as women. I had to learn how to conquer my ground and empower myself and I did that through writing and through learning more about feminism from amazing feminist activists. Writing empowered and encouraged me to face my feelings and explore the ideas that came to me.

Do you look for inspiration outside your own life as well as to your own experiences?

My poems are predominantly about my own personal journey, but I have written from other people’s viewpoints as well. I wrote about refugees and abortion even though I am not a refugee myself and I haven’t experienced abortion. I know that going through the pain of these life events is not the same as writing about them, but I wanted to shed light on important social and political issues.
    I am also aware that some of my own experiences resonate with many other people. So, while most of the poems are written from my own perspective, I know that they are universally relevant.

What was your biggest challenge when writing this collection?

The biggest challenge was when I had the urge to write but had no time to do it. Writing has always been an essential way of surviving and keeping me sane in this crazy world. But as we get older, we have other pressing commitments.

What did you enjoy most about writing the collection?

When I write, I feel more myself, and I have this bond with my inner soul which brings me truth and peace. I wrote these poems without the intention of getting them published, but simply to connect with myself and just breathe through my writing.

I know you are a pharmacist and have a busy working (and home) life. Is it difficult to find the time and space to write?
 
Working in healthcare certainly can be tough, and with the pandemic we had even more difficult and challenging days. I also had to study for my registration exam alongside working full time and having a family to take care of.
    I must say, that with my husband’s help and support, I manage to find some time to write whenever I get the impulse. When I feel words are flowing in my head then I try to write, whether I am in the car park waiting for my shift to start or before I go to bed – or even while waiting for the food to be cooked.

Your publishers, Victorina Press, believe very strongly in the principles of bibliodiversity. What does this mean to you personally and was it a factor in your decision to submit your work to them?

I knew that submitting my poetry to a publisher believing strongly in diversity would mean my work would truly be seen from the angle I wanted it to be seen. Considering that I come from an ethnic minority background, I don’t always get to be seen as I am. Immigrants are often overlooked, and their talents can be hidden under the umbrella of social and cultural barriers. It takes both parties, the person from the ethnic minority and the surrounding society, to break down those impediments and create a more integrated society. Victorina created this space for people like me to have their voice heard and to let their talent sparkle. There was a time when I felt my background was a disadvantage to my progression in life, but through my journey I learnt how to turn the disadvantage into an advantage, and I feel that being from an ethnic minority gives a special flavour to my writing.
 



What is next for you as a writer? Another poetry collection or something else?

I write poetry consistently, but sometimes in Arabic. I might start translating some of the poems into English. I do want to write a book, but it is very early days. I have more than one idea floating in the air and I have not settled on one yet.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I can’t wait to see I Am the Power in print and I really hope it all goes well for you!

It has been my pleasure.

You can pre-order Nour’s collection HERE


 
 



 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Same Same But Different

I've been neglecting my blog of late! I know, I know, it's a familiar and regular cry from bloggers all over the land!

I've been busy doing some freelance editing, tutoring my short story course for the Retreat West Creative Writing School, and – more recently – doing some marketing work for an indie publisher. This has all left very little time for writing, and I seem to be busier as a part-time self-employed person than I ever was as an employee. Which isn't quite what I'd planned!

I've had some recent success with short stories, winning the H E Bates Short Story Competition and being Highly Commended for the Fish Short Story Prize, and my short story, 'An Unfamiliar Landscape' has just been published in a beautiful hardback collection, Same Same But Different, alongside writers such as A L Kennedy, Helen Simpson, Paul McVeigh and Alison Moore. So lots of exciting stuff going on.

My new novella, Crossing the Lines will hopefully be out from Victorina Press at the end of this year, and I've just signed a contract for my next short story collection, An Unfamiliar Landscape, with another indie press. More news on that soon!

So that's all my news – how about you?

Hopefully I'll be around more now, as I plan to share some author interviews with you soon.


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

So excited to be part of this new anthology!

I've got a mention in The Bookseller! So excited that my short story will feature in this forthcoming anthology from Everything With Words alongside some of my all-time writing heroes!

Indie Everything With Words expands into adult books

Indie children's publisher Everything With Words is expanding into adult books this year with three new titles.

The press, set up in 2013 by Mikka Haugaard to bring authors into schools, said it was encouraged to make the move after releasing its first novel for adults last year, Inside the Beautiful Inside by Emily Bullock, which won praise from the Sunday Times and Observer.

Among the new books is The Tiny Gestures of Small Flowers by Emily Critchley, released on 15th July, billed as a navigation of family, toxic relationships, coercive control and independence. “Gripping" magical realist story Circles a Clover by Michael Egan follows on 26th August.

On 2nd September, Everything With Words will publish Same Same but Different with an introduction by Amanda Craig, a story anthology themed around solitude including tales by A L Kennedy, Stephen Thompson, Alison Moore, Amanda Huggins and Helen Simpson.

Haugaard, founder and publisher, said: “I enjoy being involved in the wonderful and crazy world of children’s fiction— lots of talent there— but my passion is for adult literary fiction with all its variety, from the restrained to the passionately outspoken. I am particularly drawn to those who know how to blend the lyrical with the vernacular and take the reader by surprise.”

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Four to Read in 2021!

SCENT BY ISABEL COSTELLO 


From the publisher’s blurb:

When Clementine and Edouard's last child leaves home, the cracks in their marriage become impossible to ignore. Her work as a perfumer is no longer providing solace and her sense of self is withering. Then, her former lover resurfaces, decades after the end of their bisexual affair, and her world tilts irreversibly. This is an intimate portrait of a woman navigating conflicting desires and a troubled past whilst dreaming of a fulfilling future.

My Review:

I raced through Scent in two afternoons – as well as being beautifully written, absorbing and assured,  it’s a real page turner. Set in a vividly depicted Paris, this is a steamy and sensual novel, a dark and evocative portrait of desire, love and loss, which explores what happens when the past catches up with Clementine in her already unsettled world.  

March 31st 2021 - Muswell Press

COMMON GROUND BY NAOMI ISHIGURO


From the publisher’s blurb:

From the acclaimed author of the story collection Escape Routes comes a timely, bittersweet and beautifully observed coming of age story about a friendship that defines two lives, and about the value of loyalty in a divided world.

It’s a lonely life for Stan, at a new school that feels more ordeal than fresh start, and at home where he and his mother struggle to break the silence after his father’s death. When he encounters fearless, clever Charlie on the local common, all of that begins to change. Charlie’s curiosity is infectious, and it is Charlie who teaches Stan, for the first time, to stand on his own two feet. But will their unit of two be strong enough to endure in a world that offers these boys such different prospects?

The pair part ways, until their paths cross once again, as adults at a London party. Now Stan is revelling in all that the city has to offer, while Charlie seems to have hit a brick wall. He needs Stan’s help, and above all his friendship, but is Stan really there for the man who once showed him the meaning of loyalty?

My Review:

I really enjoyed Escape Routes and have been looking forward to Common Ground for some time. it certainly didn’t disappoint. An evocative and compelling coming-of-age novel, beautifully written, about the complexities of friendship and two teenagers’ struggle against injustice and discrimination. It explores the difficulties of being an outsider and the fight to be accepted, to form connections, without sacrificing who you are. Stan and Charlie are both wonderful characters, and Common Ground is as uplifting as it is poignant.

March 25th 2021 - Tinder Press

PANENKA BY RONAN HESSION


From the publisher’s blurb:

His name was Joseph, but for years they had called him Panenka, a name that was his sadness and his story. Panenka has spent 25 years living with the disastrous mistakes of his past, which have made him an exile in his home town and cost him his dearest relationships. Now aged 50, Panenka begins to rebuild an improvised family life with his estranged daughter and her seven year old son.

But at night, Panenka suffers crippling headaches that he calls his Iron Mask. Faced with losing everything, he meets Esther, a woman who has come to live in the town to escape her own disappointments. Together, they find resonance in each other’s experiences and learn new ways to let love into their broken lives.

My Review:

Ronan Hession is the master of ‘quiet’ books. He takes the mundane, the everyday, and reveals the beating heart of the human condition and makes it extraordinary. A novel where nothing huge happens in terms of plot, and yet everything happens. Panenka is a deeply moving book, achingly poignant, yet although it is dark it is filled with love and joy and hope and deep, deep humanity.

Panenka, for all his faults and flaws, is a truly relatable character and I came to really care about him. The rest of the characters are equally rounded – Esther in particular is wonderful. Every one of them has their own story and every one of them feels real. And the writing is sublime – pitch perfect in every way. I loved every minute of Panenka from start to finish.

May 2021 - Blue Moose Books

 

THE LIP BY CHARLIE CARROLL 

 

From the publisher's blurb:

This unsparing debut novel portrays the unromantic side of Cornwall few visitors see and which so many novelists choose to overlook. Charlie Carroll inhabits his damaged heroine completely' Patrick Gale

Away from the hotels and holiday lets, there is an unseen side of Cornwall, where the shifting uncertainties of the future breed resentment and mistrust.
 

My review:

The Lip is a well-paced debut novel with an intriguing storyline and a heartbreaking twist – and Charlie Carroll’s writing is totally sublime. It is not always an easy read, as it addresses loneliness and isolation, mental health issues and grief. However, there is also love, hope and friendship at its heart, as well as the power and beauty of nature. The depiction of the wild Cornish coast is wonderfully evocative, and Melody Janie’s voice is compelling and distinctive – she burrows under your skin.

March 2021 - John Murray Press

 

 



Interview with Rhiannon Lewis

  Today, I am delighted to be talking to award-winning novelist and short fiction writer, Rhiannon Lewis. Her new collection, I Am the Mask...