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Wyl Menmuir interview

Wyl Menmuir interview

Wyl Menmuir explains how he explores geographical and psychological space in The Many and that looking out off the edge of cliffs near where he lives in Cornwall helps his writing.

This is part of our series of Man Booker Prize 2016 longlisted author interviews.     

What has it been like to be longlisted?

It’s been utterly marvellous, surreal even. The day before it was announced I was thinking over who might make the longlist and at no point did it cross my mind The Many would be on there. So many novels I return to over and again have been ones highlighted by the Man Booker Prizes and it’s a huge honour to find myself on a list alongside such incredibly talented writers.

What are you working on next?

I’m in the early stages of writing my second novel, which explores the fine line the artist - and in particular a photographer - treads between craftsmanship and obsession. At the moment, several strands of the story are starting to come together - it’s early days and very much still in flux. I’m also working on two short stories right now, one that is playing ball and another that is certainly not.

What are you reading at the moment?

I always have several novels on the go. Right now I’m reading Alison Moore’s Death and the Seaside, David Vann’s Aquarium, and The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg.

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.

The action in The Many takes place in an isolated fishing community. Is that sense of being on the edge useful to you as a writer?

The edge is uncertain ground, space in constant negotiation and conflict where the rules of one place butt up against those of another. I wanted to explore that space in The Many, both geographically and psychologically. And more than that, there’s something about walking the cliffs close to where I live in Cornwall and looking out off the edge of the island that helps the words flow. So yes, the sense of being on the edge is extremely useful to me. 

Wyl Menmuir