ILX10: Fiona Williams

Meet Fiona Williams, a rising star of UK writing.

Fiona Williams holds a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Westminster and an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She is the winner of the 2021 Bridport Prize, Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award. Originally from South-East London, she now lives with her family on the Somerset Levels. She is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. The House of Broken Bricks is her debut novel.

Twitter/X @FeeWilliams75

Instagram @fionawilliamswrites

ILX 10: Rising Stars of UK Writing

The ILX10 is NCW’s selection of ten exciting, dynamic, and thought-provoking early-career writers based in the UK whose work has the powerful potential to speak to and engage with global literary audiences. It forms part of a three-year programme called the International Literature Exchange.

Find out more


‘Haunting prose that cracks the English pastoral novel and lets the darkness in. A pleasure to read.’ — Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater


‘Wonderful…brave in its deep truths about loss and love.’ — Ingrid Persaud, author of Love After Love


‘A clever, heartbreaking, heartwarming depiction of family love, grief and the possibility of hope.’ —Jo Browning Wroe, author of A Terrible Kindness


‘Shocking and powerful… This is the best kind of storytelling.’ — Victoria Hislop, author of The Island


‘A tender and powerful novel, all the more profound for its apparent simplicity, and establishes Williams as an exciting and original new voice.’ ― Observer


‘Assured and deft’ . . . both poetic and heartbreaking. ― Dazed


‘The House of Broken Bricks reads like an almanac for the heart and charts the seasons of one family’s relationships with each other and themselves. Rich and earthy, it’s one of those books that demands a quiet space for reflection, to savour the tangled nature that lives inside all of us.’ — Evie Woods


‘Deeply atmospheric . . . A story about identity that will chime with anyone who has ever felt they don’t fit in. But it is also a love story: about love for the countryside, and the sort of love that can make – and break – a family.’ ― iNews


‘An affecting debut from a talented new writer.’ ― Financial Times


‘Williams complicates the nature of race, inheritance, land and belonging in complex ways through her characters, but also with the language which she uses […] It’s a novel which will stay with you long after you have read it.’ ― Irish Independent



Writers I admire

S. Byatt, Buchi Emecheta, Elif Shafak

What drew you to recreate the pastoral English novel?

It was never my intention to recreate the pastoral English novel, instead what I wanted to portray was the lives of ordinary British people trying to find a place for themselves amid the turmoil of human life and to share a deep appreciation for the countryside. For me, The House of Broken Bricks is a love letter to the West Country, that far corner of England that is still steeped in ancient traditions and rituals and, to some extent, outdated social prejudices. This is a place where the landscape has remained unchanged for many years, and yet the wildlife to be found in its patchworked fields and intersecting marshland waxes and wanes with the turning of the seasons. The cyclical nature of this rural world seemed the perfect backdrop for a tale exploring feelings of ‘otherness’, the complexities of race, identity, family and belonging, and the experiences of grief and love. The English pastoral novel tends to inspire historical connotations and has always invoked images of quaint idylls far removed from city centres and, like the writers who have come before me, I am also eager to look beyond the urban setting and more stereotypical preconceptions around diversity and inclusion. Pastoral England is evolving, and it is important to showcase modern day rural people, while celebrating all of their heritages and the new communities that are constantly being formed and rooted.

The International Literature Exchange is a programme from National Centre for Writing, supported by the British Council and Arts Council England.


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