Sarah Winman’s captivating second novel A Year of Marvellous Ways, now out in paperback, is following the trajectory of her debut bestseller When God Was a Rabbit, with a swift appearance in the Sunday Times Fiction Top Ten and a spring selection for Richard & Judy’s Book Club. She emerges from the duvet to give us an insight into her fondest influences and a typical writing day.
Where are you now?
Where and when do you do most of your writing?
At the moment, in bed.
If you have one, what is your pre-writing ritual?
Going out for a walk and seeing what’s happening in the world.
Full-time or part-time?
Pen or keyboard?
How do you relax when you’re writing?
Go for a run. Go to the cinema. Get my shoulders and neck realigned to a normal position. Meet friends.
How would you pitch your latest book in up to 25 words?
It’s a love story between an old woman and a young man recently back from war. It’s about the healing power of storytelling.
Who do you write for?
Who do you share your work in progress with?
My partner, and my former agent Robert Caskie.
Which literary character do you wish you created?
Share with us your favourite line/s of dialogue, poetry or prose.
From T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets/‘East Coker’. The six lines that begin:
“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope…”
Which book do you wish you’d written?
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.
Which book/s have you most recently read and enjoyed?
Isherwood’s A Single Man.
What’s on your bedside table or e-reader?
Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone, Edna O’Brien’s The Little Red Chairs, and Dear Theo: Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother, edited by Irving Stone.
Which book/s do you feel you ought to have read but haven’t yet?
James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Which book/s do you treasure the most?
The ones that changed my life a little.
What is the last work you read in translation?
I’m in the process of reading Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal.
Which story collections would you particularly recommend?
Anything by Cate Kennedy.
What will you read next?
Probably Lila by Marilynne Robinson.
What are you working on next?
I’m going back to the first book I ever wrote, the book before Rabbit, and I am redrafting the story as it would be written today.
Imagine you’re the host of a literary supper, who would your dinner guests be (living or dead, real or fictional)?
Selina Guinness, Cate Kennedy, Favel Parrett, Hannah Kent, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Sara Blaedel – wonderful writer friends I have met on my travels. We live far from each other so dinner would be good.
If you weren’t writing you’d be…?
Heading out the door to grab a coffee and some chat.
Sarah Winman grew up in Essex and now lives in London. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and television. A Year of Marvellous Ways is published by Tinder Press.
Facebook: Sarah Winman
Author portrait © Patricia Niven