The Authors Who Inspired Us to Write; They're Enjoying Success as Award-Winning Writers but Who Inspired Them to Pick Up a Pen in the First Place? as We Continue Our Celebration of Literature during Book Week, Arts Editor Karen Price Asks Four Novelists to Reveal Which Works Influenced Them

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Authors Who Inspired Us to Write; They're Enjoying Success as Award-Winning Writers but Who Inspired Them to Pick Up a Pen in the First Place? as We Continue Our Celebration of Literature during Book Week, Arts Editor Karen Price Asks Four Novelists to Reveal Which Works Influenced Them


Neyland-|born Sarah Waters has published six novels, including Tipping The Velvet, which was made into a TV series. She's just co-written her first drama for stage, The Frozen Scream, which is at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from December 11 to 20: "I remember reading Philippa Gregory's Wideacre and discovering that it's an incredibly smart piece about history and women in history. I loved it when I first read it back in the mid '90s - I was really, really taken with it.

Sarah Waters > "It's clever how she took the historical novel form and used it in quite a commercial way. It really made me think that I'd like to have a go at writing myself. It was definitely my inspiration for Tipping The Velvet. I was already into history and had done a PhD on literature and history. Even now I love writing historical novels because it's good to spend a lot of time doing research on a certain period."

| Rhondda writer Rachel Trezise |was winner of the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers for her short story collection Fresh Apples: "I studied Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings for my A-levels and it was the first book I engaged with really as I didn't read very much before then. It's a semi-autobiographical novel and I just fell in love with it. It's about the difficult childhood she had and some aspects were similar to mine. I thought to myself, 'If she can do it, I can have a go.' I didn't think I would be published - I just thought writing would be a cathartic experience. All the time I was at university I was writing my book (In And Out Of A Goldfish Bowl) and it was published a year after I left uni. I would often revisit Maya's book and mine is structured very similarly, although people don't think I was inspired by her as it's very different. She grew up in the '50s as an African/ American and faced racism and I'm white and grew up in the Valleys. But some stuff, like poverty, was exactly the same. I read so many books now. The writer who really inspires me today is Annie Proulx. She's just so good at evoking place, characters and relationships - the human experience. As a writer, that's what you aspire to."

Peter Finch is from Cardiffand |has published a number of books. He was chief executive of Academi, the Welsh literature promotion agency: "There are two books which I acquired in odd circumstances at the start of my career which stay with me. The Dhama Bums is Jack Kerouac's follow up to On The Road and I bought it on a whim in a secondhand bookshop in Bridge Street, Cardiff as I couldn't afford full-price books at the time.

"Around about the same time I'd been looking for a great poetry book - Howl by Allen Ginsberg. …

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The Authors Who Inspired Us to Write; They're Enjoying Success as Award-Winning Writers but Who Inspired Them to Pick Up a Pen in the First Place? as We Continue Our Celebration of Literature during Book Week, Arts Editor Karen Price Asks Four Novelists to Reveal Which Works Influenced Them
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