When did you start writing?

When I read my first ‘chapter book’ (the book was Seven Days with Jan by Mary Cocket) I was amazed at how the writer made me see and smell a pyramid of tangerines on a greengrocer’s stall just with words and wanted to be able to do it. I began writing stories shortly after that, and had a long running serial going on that I told my sister in bed every night.  The main character was a headmistress whose hair was rotting away because she wore too much make-up.

What writers have inspired you?
See above.  Everything I read that makes me see, hear, shiver, smile and understand inspires me to write.  There are too many to list, but those that come to me first of all: Dickens, Jean Rhys, T.S. Eliot, John Updike, Ian McEwan, Alice Munro, Tim Winton.

What do you look for in a piece of writing?
I look to be convinced, for a sense of authority and authenticity in the voice, whether it be first or third person narrative.  I want to be intrigued and unwilling to stop reading.  With the very best writing – prose or poetry – I want to be left with the flavor of it, an image or a line floating back to tease and tantalize me.

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Ms Lesley Glaister

Lesley Glaister is the author of 13 novels including Honour Thy Father, which won both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask Award; Limestone and Clay, which won Yorkshire Post’s Author of the Year Award; Easy Peasy, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction prize; and most recently Little Egypt, which was published by Salt in 2014 and won the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Lesley’s short stories have appeared in newspapers, journals and anthologies and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.  She has edited an anthology of short stories Are You She for Tindal Street Press and has written drama for stage and radio.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  Lesley lives in Edinburgh and spends her summers in Orkney.


Little Egypt (2014)
Chosen (2010)
Nina Todd Has Gone (2007)
As Far as You Can Go (2004)
Now You See Me (2001)
Sheer Blue Bliss (1999)
Easy Peasy (1998)
The Private Parts of Women (1996)
Partial Eclipse (1994)
Limestone and Clay (1993)
Digging to Australia (1992)
Trick or Treat (1990)
Honour Thy Father (1990)

Recent books