Five Minute Interview with Uschi Gatward
Uschi Gatward’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best British Short Stories 2015 (Salt), Flamingo Land & Other Stories (ed. Ellah Allfrey, Flight Press), as a Galley Beggar Press Single, and in the magazines The Barcelona Review, Brittle Star, The Lonely Crowd, Short Fiction, Southword, Structo and Wasafiri. She was shortlisted for The White Review Short Story Prize 2016.
What are you reading right now?
I’m working my way very slowly through the two volumes of The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, edited by Philip Hensher.
Where do you write?
I usually write in bed.
Does travelling inspire your writing?
I’m not particularly well travelled in the international sense. I do get inspiration from making trips, but most of my work is inspired by living in one place and knowing that place extremely well.
Paper and pen or laptop?
I make notes and write fragments (twenty pages or so) in an A4 manuscript book with a gel pen and then when I’m ready to begin writing seriously I get out the laptop.
What was the first book you read that made a difference?
The book that made me a writer was an illustrated edition of The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, which I read when I was seven. (I’m not sure my prose has ever recovered.)
What one book would you take to a desert island?
I’d probably take something practical, like Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour.
Which new author should the world be reading?
I think Claire-Louise Bennett is on to something.
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading next?
I’ve just bought Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie (as an antidote to The Penguin Book of the British Short Story), and I’m looking forward to the publication of The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico, which is out in February from Faber.
What role does Wasafiri play for international contemporary literature?
I think it plays an important role in finding a wider international audience for literatures around the world, and in keeping alive the discourse around post-colonialism. And (not least) it provides a publication opportunity for the UK’s writers of colour, who are largely neglected by the mainstream presses.