The beginning of September sees Unthank Books of Norwich and London publish the fifth volume in the series WRITERS IN CONVERSATION. These are the transcripts of the interviews with the world’s greatest authors who have graced the stage of UEA’s International Festival of Literature, hosted by the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies and its head – Professor Christopher Bigsby. This year’s collection contains fascinating and frank discussions with Alan Hollinghurst, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison, Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, Thomas Keneally, Jonathan Franzen, Muriel Spark, Beryl Bainbridge, and many others of equal calibre.

Bigsby states in his introduction that he is interested in writers’ formative influences and as a result there are many surprising recollections and revelations from the authors’ childhoods. The novelist Gail Jones’s only brush with culture came from two B movies shown every weekend in a corrugated iron shed with half a roof. She was brought up in the remotest parts of aboriginal Australia in mining communities with no TV, radio, library or books. She connects this to her writing saying, “…my sense of narrative comes from B movies of a certain era, musicals, cowboy movies, along with Spartacus and Ben Hur, those big hyperbolic, gaudy antirealist movies that tell stories in images.”

Most of the interviews have taken place since the publication of the last volume of WRITERS IN CONVERSATION in 2011 but some are from the Festival’s archive and as a result are now important posthumous records. One previously unpublished interview with John Fowles from 1992 has quickly been picked up by the John Fowles website for his myriad fans around the world.

Publisher Robin Jones is thrilled to have Unthank Books associated with such luminaries and is excited about his other releases this Autumn. With a proportion of any profits going to the restoration of the Bronte sisters’ birthplace in Thornton, RED ROOM published in November, is a collection of new short stories inspired by the Brontes and written by some of the UK’s leading exponents of the short form. David Constantine’s entry has already been selected to feature in Best of British Short Stories 2014. UNTHOLOGY 4 also appears in November, Unthank’s ongoing showcase of the best short fiction from new and upcoming writers.


Find out more about Unthank Books.