Meet Sheena Patel, author of the Women’s Prize 2023 longlisted novel I’m A Fan, which the Evening Standard described as “a disturbing, direct and skilfully observed look at race, class and envy.”
The premise of this book is powerful and unique, so what was the inspiration behind the novel? We grabbed a quick five minutes with each of the authors behind the longlisted books to ask that question and more…
Describe your novel in one sentence as if you were telling a friend.
I’m a Fan is about Instagram stalking. It’s about the Shadow of the internet.
What inspired you to write I’m A Fan?
I watched the attacks on the Capitol and thought that the hold trump had on his base was similar to the way it is to be in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable. I wanted to make the feeling of being extreme something close and uncomfortable, that any one of us is capable of tipping over the edge, where the irrational becomes rational.
Are there any locations that have a special connection for you or your book?
London, California and whatever the location the algorithms are.
Which part of the book was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?
The voice was very satisfying to indulge in. The most challenging was the editing process. It was finding the story amongst the ideas I was collating.
Which of the characters from the book would you most like to spend a weekend away with and why?
I’m not sure this is applicable to mine as the characters are mostly screens to be projected on. The mum figure gets a lot of love.
What first inspired you to write?
I’ve had the impulse to write since I was a child but only took it seriously with 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE, the collective I am apart of. I took myself seriously from them because my three friends took me seriously.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have received?
It’s not so much advice, but Nina Herve and Will Burns, who are Rough Trade Books, embody words and making in a way I aspire to. They are how I want to be creative, unapologetic and radical.