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Fiona Mozley interview

Fiona Mozley interview

In this Man Booker Prize 2017 longlisted author interview Fiona Mozley tells us being longlisted for Elmet has been out of the ordinary and how her novel is strongly rooted in the history of the landscape she grew up in.

What has it been like to be longlisted?

My partner has described it as ‘extreme news’. It has been out of the ordinary. Because the novel was not published when the longlist was announced, there had been no build up. I still find it strange to think of people reading the story I wrote, let alone including it in such an illustrious list. It is also obviously very exciting. I was hopeful that some people would enjoy Elmet when it was published, but I could not have anticipated anything like this.

What are you working on next?

Another novel. It contains similar themes to Elmet – property, ownership, gentrification - but the setting and characters are very different. It also has many voices, so there has been a stylistic shift too.

What are you reading at the moment?

Anna Karenina, Silas Marner and History of Wolves. Also, a collection of poetry called And Now They Range by Karl O’Hanlon.

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

Wolf Hall. This is probably predictable given my interest in late-medieval history.

You were writing a PhD thesis while working on Elmet, did the two disciplines and styles help or hinder one another?

My PhD considers the relationship between medieval towns and the natural environment, so I have spent the past few years thinking about issues relating to community, land, and property in quite some depth. These themes and concerns have certainly seeped into Elmet, and while it is a contemporary novel, it is strongly rooted in the long history of the landscape I grew up in, which is fed by medieval myths and legends. Writing a novel is a very different process, however, and there were moments when I had to bury myself in writing creatively, as well as other times when the PhD became the priority.   

Elmet