Anne Enright has made the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist for the second time this year (the first time being for The Forgotten Waltz in 2012) with The Green Road. We caught up with the Irish Laureate for Fiction to discuss the inspiration behind her work, pinning photos and her abiding obsession with wallpaper.
Many years ago, when I was a writing student at the University of East Anglia, a guy said to me, “I know nothing about your characters, I don’t know where they live or what kind of wallpaper they have.” I think he was talking about class – the Irish novel, in those days, was not interested in class the way the English novel used to be. I knew all this, but even so I was left with an abiding and secret obsession with my character’s wallpaper. I always know their house style (and also their class, though that is by the by). These photos were taken from web when I was writing the middle chapter of the book: Rosaleen sitting in her house, with layers of history on every wall.
I also pinned other images, including a reader’s picture, in the Guardian, of his father on a beach. I liked the togs. A free signed copy to the first person to identify where they all occur in the text!