Naoise Dolan has been selected as one of the 10 Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures authors.

A panel of industry experts have chosen 10 female authors aged 35 and under who are exciting, boundary-changing, and inspirational. In other words, the classics of tomorrow for today. Keep reading to find out Naoise’s dream job, if she wasn’t a writer.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your most recent novel.

I never remember how I originally got any of my ideas. I don’t find the having of a thought to be an astonishing event. What’s rarer is a thought I want to pursue for long enough to get a book out of it, but that’s not a decision I make in a single moment – it’s a really gradual feeling out.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I sort of stumbled into it. I’d just left university and I wanted some sort of creative project to amuse myself with, so I thought I’d try a novel. I wrote it on trains, in coffee shops on my lunch break, that sort of thing. Then I left it for absolutely ages until a friend offered to read it at her Christmas party, and eventually I sent it off to agents and got a few offers. My agent Harriet Moore had the most radical editorial suggestions so I went with her – I think I’ll always prefer to work with people who push me, because I push myself anyway so it’s nice having company. Harriet is brilliant and everything about publication from that point was all her. She sent the novel to editors, managed the ensuing auction, and has been with me for every stage since, from final edits on the novel to publicity to publication.

What motivates you as an author?

I’ll often focus on areas of craft that I know I’ve got room to improve on – I find it very satisfying to learn by doing. I think as well that if you’ve been mulling something in your head, it’s really satisfying to map it out and see how all the parts contribute to the whole. I have a terribly disorganised mind so writing feels like decluttering – at the end I’m left with only the words I want, arranged in an order that makes sense. That’s how people discuss essay-writing but I think it applies equally to every other form I work in.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Exciting Times

by Naoise Dolan

Find out more

What do you think you’d be if you weren’t a writer?

There are probably three such jobs in all of London, but I’d love to be a gift-wrapper at a department store. I simply love to wrap. When I was a kid you’d always know which presents were from me at parties because they’d be 20% present and 80% wrapping paper. To this day there’s a kitchen drawer where I hoard tissue paper and bits of ribbon, all bits of ribbon, even if it’s from a hand towel I bought at the supermarket. Strangely, I do not care at all whether someone else wraps something that they give me, or how they wrap it if they do. I think I find wrapping so intrinsically rewarding that it doesn’t occur to me as a proxy for showing affection.

WP X GH Futures is about celebrating the female voices of the future – what do you hope to have achieved as a writer in ten years’ time?

More novels is the main thing. I won’t jinx myself by saying how many. And I want to write lots of other things, too. I think because I wrote my first novel without any formal training, I have a weird beginners’ confidence in trying other things – it’s not that I think I’m great at everything, but I don’t have a clue about anything, so a screenplay or an essay collection is no more daunting to me than a novel. I’d also truly love to write a musical. Don’t tell my editor, but I’m only writing fiction until someone hires me to write musicals.