Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop in Peckham, south London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also short listed for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is included in Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists 2013. Her second novel All the Birds, Singing came out in June 2013 from Jonathan Cape.
Which book most influenced you when growing up?
Cloud Street by Tim Winton
Describe your writing space – what’s in it and why? And do you still sometimes write at the Royal Festival Hall?
These days it’s more often than not a chain cafe – somewhere where I don’t feel bad about taking up a seat on just one coffee. I have dreams of a lovely writing room, but it’s hard to write from home, you need to be more disciplined than me. I can’t find the space at the RFH anymore – I think everyone cottoned on that it was great and now there are toddler groups everywhere.
Who or what had the biggest impact on your writing life?
I think shyness had a large effect – listening rather than talking, and watching things closely.
The last couple of years have seen black clouds loom over independent bookshops. Are you optimistic for the future of Review?
Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?
I say ‘awesome’ far more than I’m happy with. I say ‘no worries’ a lot.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
Three and a half years so far.
Is there a book you were supposed to love but didn’t? Or one you expected to hate and fell for?
Yes – have always had a block with Austen – but I’m sure that just has to do with school. I’ve never started a book expecting to hate it.
How has your bookselling career aided your fiction?
Who knows! They are quite separate things to me.
Do you have a guilty reading pleasure?
Not a single one – I think that if reading something is pleasurable then it’s a well written thing. It takes a lot to write something that someone wants to read.
You’ve been compared to Ian McEwan, Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas and Peter Carey. Do you think your writing has a masculine quality?
I try as much as possible, to be a person. Perhaps this comes out in my writing, I hope so.
Which book has impressed you most this year?
The Gamal by Ciaran Collins
Will you write any more short stories?
I’m always writing short stories – I haven’t published a book of them, but I’m always writing them.
If you were a dog, would you be a whippet?
I’d like to be a lurcher – in reality I’d probably be more like a bullmastiff.