A fearless novelist on the rise
Raw, visceral and feral are words that could describe Evie Wyld’s writing, as are poignant, funny and cheeky—that is to say—her work is simultaneously gripping, turbulent and poignant, traits that might not usually fit together so seamlessly. But in Wyld’s work, boy, do they fit together.
Critics and fans unanimously love Wyld’s work. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won numerous prizes and in 2013 she was included on Granta Magazine’s once a decade Best of Young British Novelists list. Her second novel All the Birds, Singing set in the outback of Australia and an isolated British island, won the Miles Franklin Award, the Encore Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.
Wyld lives in south London and runs Review, an independent bookshop in Peckham. Here she shares how she would spend her dream day in her home city (hint: it has something to do with the London’s most beautiful bookstores), her favorite reads of last year, and more.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What steps did you take to make this a reality?
I never really wanted to be a Writer – I didn’t think it was an option open to me. I just enjoyed writing short stories, and I did a creative writing Masters, primarily to give me the incentive to leave a boring job. An agent contacted me after reading a short story the MA course published online and things went from there, but at every stage I was convinced it wouldn’t work out.
Is there a particular writer who inspires you most?
I find this a very hard question – there are so many amazing writers, past and present. I do read everything by Tim Winton—he has a darkness, a beauty and a sense of humor all in perfect balance.
Where did the idea for your novel All the Birds, Singing come from?
I don’t tend to have ideas and then write a novel based on the idea – I write for 3-4 years and a story is shaped out of that work. I’m always interested by people in a landscape on their own, and with their relationship with the land and the animals around them. I knew starting out though that I wanted to try to make something scary.
If you had one day to explore literary London, what would you do and where would you go?
I would do a crawl of the independent bookshops – I help run one in Peckham called Review, and on a free day I love to go to Crystal Palace and visit the warm and wonderful Bookseller Crow on the Hill, owned by Jonathan Main who is a super hero of books, and running courses by the brilliant novelist Karen Mcleod whose alter ego Barbra Brownskirt I’d go to see perform her very funny poetry in the evening.
What were your three favorite books of last year?
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson, The Night Guest by Fiona Mcfarlane and Mobile Library by David Whitehouse.