Sunday, 15 April 2012

QUICK-FIX: Cathi Unsworth

Right now I’m reading …

…White Chappell, Scarlet Traces by Iain Sinclair. I’m re-reading a lot of London fiction for a lecture I’m giving in June at Gresham’s College about contemporary London crime fiction. This 1987 novel is pretty pivotal to the shape of things that came after, perhaps because it addresses the most potent things that came before – Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, Hawksmoor, the old Jewish East End…

Three things I can see from my writing chair are …

…my garden, which is a shady, basement garden, the steps that lead to street level, and an assortment of people walking by, from little old ladies going to the church at the end of the street, to local flaneurs who have a circuit they follow at the same time every day. One of which always stops at the top of my steps and stares at me without smiling.

The biggest time-suck that stops me writing is …

…having to do a day job.

It might surprise you but I like reading …

…about gardening and the countryside. Yes. You can take the broad out of Norfolk, but…

The fictional character I’d most like to meet is …

…Miss Smith from Beverly Nichols’ The Wickedest Witch in the World. She’s sort of my role model.

One writer who should be much better known is…

…Jayne Joso. Check out her books The Perfect Architect and Soothing Music for Stray Cats. They are not crime novels, but Jayne has a way of writing about contemporary life that is both clever and compassionate and takes note of all the little cracks and crevices most of us walk straight by. Her writing reminds me of another vastly underrated author with an ear for those who struggled to get heard, Jean Rhys.

:: More about Cathi at her website: http://cathiunsworth.weebly.com/