Perfect murders, rescuing bumble bees and mourning cats: the online world of Evie Wyld.

‘Precise, intense, haunting and poetic…no wonder she is attracting attention.’ That was Lucy Atkins writing in The Sunday Times about author Evie Wyld’s triumphant second book, All The Birds Singing. ‘Expect to hear her name often from now on,’ trumpeted Cressida Connolly in The Spectator, while for the mighty William Boyd, it was ‘A dark, powerfully disturbing and beautifully observed story… A technical tour de force, almost Nabokovian in its structural intricacy’.

No wonder, then, that Anglo-Australian novelist Evie – who wrote her books while running an independent bookshop in Peckham and is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Kent – has been garlanded with literary accolade after literary accolade, from winning the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award for her first book, After The Fire, A Still Small Voice to being shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin literary award. Meanwhile, the acclaimed All The Bird Singing won the Miles Franklin Award, the Encore Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, and was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Sky Arts Times.

Her extraordinary newest novel is being heralded as another masterpiece and, if anything, even more ingenious. The Bass Rock (Jonathan Cape, £16.99), which is set in the seaside town of North Berwick, takes an unflinching look at toxic masculinity and the violence visited upon women by men over centuries. Do look out for our book club review, coming this week.


Brooding, lyrical and economical, Evie’s facility for creating lurking, look-over-your-shoulder unease is unerring, while the sense of the past coming back bite her characters, often savagely, is a recurrent theme. Her prose, meanwhile, is light and natural, making the weight of the narrative compulsively readable. If you haven’t laid your hands on any of her books yet, we suggest you do so without delay. Preferably to be read in one breathless sitting.

Here she tells us her favourite digital stomping grounds – from perfect murders to where she goes when she wants precision-aimed well-up.

My favourite website...

The Letters Page is edited by the writer Jon McGregor and its stories, essays, poems, memoir, reportage, criticism, recipes, travelogue. All submissions must come in the form of a handwritten letter, delivered in the post. There are some great writers on there, and you can get lost in their archive for hours.

My favourite app...

I like the one that tells the time.

My favourite podcast...

My Favorite Murder. I was so happy to find other women who think about terrible things all the time. It’s an added bonus that they’re very funny.

My most recent buy online...

A transformer (the robot kind) off eBay.

Last book you downloaded or read...

Sisters by Daisy Johnson. Deeply mysterious and threatening and perhaps murderous children. Lovely.

Favourite tweeter...

Perfectly Cut Screams.

Favourite Instagrammer...

Lucy Knisley. She’s a brilliant storyteller and has that lovely mix of being very funny but also able to bring you to tears. I occasionally look up her comic about the death of her cat Linny, just to have a well up.

Favourite tech gadget...

Noise-cancelling headphones.

The most useful item on your desk...

Retractable pencil.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...

The Teach Your Monster to Read app.

Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown...

Where Should We Begin podcast with Esther Perel.

First thing I look at on my mobile when I wake up in the morning...

Emails.

Last thing I binge-watched...

Schitt’s Creek on Netflix.

Favourite brands have I discovered online...

Heist tights.

Social media allowed me to meet...

Nigel Slater – he once responded to a tweet I did about a bumblebee that got stuck in our toilet’s cistern.

The best digital advice I've been given...

Don’t read Guardian comments.

My screensaver is...

A really pixilated image of Beaker from The Muppets.

My pet online hate is...

People.

Do you have any online rules or resolutions (such as a time your religiously switch off devices, for example?)

Not really – I try not to have my phone while I’m watching TV, so I try and doodle instead.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?

Good!

Photo credit: © Urszula Soltys, 2019

By Nancy Alsop
June 2020

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