Each week until the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner’s announcement on June 7th, we’ll be giving you an insight into the workspaces of our brilliant 2017 shortlisted authors. This week, Gwendoline Riley, shortlisted for First Love, takes us on a tour of the places where she writes best, from the London Library, to her desk at home.
Where do you write?
I write in the London Library, most days, which is about a ninety minute walk from home. The walk helps me think. I write in my notebooks in the library. Later I move to my desk at home. The flaw in this scheme is that I don’t tend to type up what I write longhand. But somehow I do need to do all that writing first. (I think.) If nothing else, I suppose it keeps Moleskine in business.
What do you have on your desk?
It’s a tiny desk, with no elbow room at all, so there’s just the computer, dictionaries, thesaurus, and – usually – a cup of nettle tea. The chair is quite uncomfortable but I do end up sitting there reading, too, so the books start to pile up as you can see. That pile, plus the tea, I’m realising, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Which is the most inspiring object in your workspace?
I don’t think there is one. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong! I think the books, really, are what inspire me. My dictionaries.
What can you see from your window?
There’s no window, I’m afraid. I have a skylight, so I can cast my eyes heavenwards if needs be! When I’m writing in here I’m not very interested in the outside world I’m afraid.