Archive for June 27th, 2010

Anyone who has been within earshot of me in the last year will know I’ve been constantly going on about Evie Wyld‘s debut novel, After the Fire, A Still, Small Voice. It won the the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and Wyld is a talented writer, not just of fiction, but of memoir/non-fiction prose.  She contributed to Granta’s Sex issue with Woman’s Body: An Owner’s Manual and in today’s Observer, she talks about being ill as a child. I think it’s her eye for detail that really strikes me.

My father says that the first inkling that something was wrong was when I sat at the top of the stairs not talking to anyone at my second birthday party. I don’t remember the party, but I remember those stairs. They were steep and there were lots of them. I remember pushing myself down those stairs often, head first and on my belly, I remember the rough weave of the carpet and the small burns you’d get if you went too fast. I remember that spot on the landing at the top of the stairs, where the light didn’t reach, a small part of that house you could get afraid of if you thought about it too much, a place that was dark and somehow remote.

You can also read her blog posts for Booktrust where she is currently writer in residence and I can’t remember the last author whose second novel I’m looking forward to as much.  You can also follow her on Twitter, @eviewyld.

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Marian Finucane’s weekend radio show is something I try not to miss. Yesterday she interviewed Melanie Verwoerd, partner of the late Gerry Ryan, who spoke movingly about their relationship and his death. It reminded me for many reasons, not least because of her honesty and the palpable rawness of how she is feeling, of a recent interview that Stephen Gately’s husband gave on The Late Late Show. Both interviews included details of finding dead loved ones, of the moment of realising that they had passed away. This is extremely private information, and Finucane and Ryan Tubridy are certainly not at fault for asking. It’s clear that both presenters were aware of the sensitivities, perhaps even been reluctant to ask, but knew that we live in times when the public demand they ask scrupulous details about the most private acts. There’s an almost gruesome curiosity here, but should these moments be up for very public discussion? Maybe, but I don’t need to know about which room someone breathed their last breath in or how they were curled up vulnerably on a couch. It’s disrespectful to the dead who aren’t here to sanction talk of their last minutes, and nothing but harrowing for their loved ones to recount.

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