ILX10: Lynsey May

Meet Lynsey May, a rising star of UK writing.

Lynsey May lives, loves and writes in Edinburgh. Her debut novel, Weak Teeth, was published by Polygon in May 2023. She’s won prizes and fellowships such as a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, Emerging Scottish Writer at Cove Park and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. 

Her short fiction has been published in various journals and anthologies, including The Stinging Fly, Gutter, New Writing Scotland and Banshee. She’s never far from a cup of coffee and her bag is always too heavy.

Twitter/X @LynseyMay

Instagram @lynseymay 



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


‘There’s a huge emotional punch packed into this deceptively light novel … May’s darkly funny take on vulnerability, responsibility and complicated relationships promises more to come’— Daily Mail

‘An agreeably light novel which is also a serious examination of human relationships … it treats the everyday world of common experience as serious matter for fiction. This is refreshingly unusual today’ — The Scotsman

‘Lynsey May’s debut Weak Teeth comes with a bite that belies its title’ — Sunday Post

‘Explores themes of grief, family and mental illness with lightness of touch and plenty of warmth’ — The Bookseller

‘Compulsively readable, darkly funny… May has a keen eye for the manifestation of emotional complexity in all human interaction and a talent for dramatising it.’ — The Skinny

‘A truthful, funny, beautifully-written and compulsive read. Lynsey May dissects the everyday traps women manage to set for ourselves with forensic wit and a fine eye for detail.’ — Kirstin Innes

‘Instantly gripping with details that place you right there, in Ellis’s disintegrating life. Weak Teeth is an emotional exploration of the aftermath of a breakup, and how grief can linger on for years, shaping everyday decisions. A beautiful, compelling story that will stay with me.’ — Rachel Greenlaw

‘In her debut fiction novel Weak Teeth, Lynsey May pulls up the roots of trauma, both in relationships and the body. It probes what can happen when life confronts you in unmistakeable ways that force you to take back control’ — Jenni Fagan

‘Weak Teeth is a fresh telling of one family’s clash with grief. Packed to the neck with little chewable sentences. A wonderful read.’ — Tish Delaney

Writers I admire

Ali Smith, Jenni Fagan, Evie Wyld

How has place shaped your writing?

I never felt strongly tethered to a place, growing up. I wanted to be international, continental, despite never having holidayed outside of the UK. I said I was British rather than Scottish and was incensed by the idea of division. I thought our differences were dangers, things that could pull us apart. 

Then, I grew up a little. I had the opportunity to travel, both in reality and in fiction. I read and read and read. And began to appreciate the ways that sights and smells and textures and experiences imprint themselves on us. Through variances in soil and air and customs, places form people in ways I’d never appreciated. 

I grew up some more and reconciled the desire to be both Scottish and global. The more I read and the more I wrote, the more I found ways that differences build connections. They can be wefted into our words and offered up for interpretation and translation. They create space for comparison and compassion. 

I keep growing and keep using stories to search for the universal in the specific. Not tethered to a place, but able to use the ones I have as a solid starting point.

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


You may also like...

ILX10: Derek Owusu


6th June 2024


ILX10: Fiona Williams


6th June 2024


ILX 10: Nick Bradley


6th June 2024