Meet Kirsty Capes, author of the Women’s Prize 2022 longlisted novel Careless.
After reading the novel, The Guardian reviewer said ‘Capes is a rare new talent, and she has written something very special here: a novel that transforms, with the lightest of touches.’
A light touch on a highly sensitive subject is very special skill. We grabbed a quick five minutes with Kirsty to talk about the book and her inspiration.
Describe in three words how it feels to be longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Unreal, life-affirming, electrifying.
What inspired you to write Careless?
I grew up in foster care, and I found that there weren’t many books out there that told a story that felt true to my experience. I wanted to write something that felt honest and representative of the care system as I knew it and experienced it. I wanted to write a story about care that was hopeful and aspirational and realistic, rather than focusing on the negatives. I wanted to tell a love story between two best friends.
Can you describe Careless in one sentence?
Bess, a fifteen-year-old girl growing up in foster care in the suburbs, falls pregnant, and must decide what to do next.
Are there any locations that have a special connection for the book?
Yes, Shepperton, which is where I grew up and where the book is set.
What was the first thing you ever wrote?
I wrote a fantasy short story in school about a copper chessboard with magical properties. I also had a blogspot as a teenager which was full of (very bad, emo) poetry. I kept a diary as a teenager where I got some of the inspiration for Bess’s voice in Careless.
Why did you become a writer?
I feel as though writing is the medium where I have the most potency, and where I can be truly emotionally honest with myself and with others.