Bookcase Focus: An interview with Cynan Jones

Bookcase Focus: An interview with Cynan Jones

Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Cynan Jones, about his writing and his influences.

1. What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?

Reading made me write. I find it hard to really enjoy something and not try to do that thing myself. (I love to eat, so I learn to cook). The transport of reading had such momentum it carried me with it into writing.

Ideas come from everywhere. Only some ideas suit being written down. So, there’s a filter in that. But if you live where I do, in an incredible landscape, it’s impossible not to be hit with ideas all the time.

2. How would you describe your writing?

Usually, my writing is direct, visual and physical, but how I use language is determined by the subject of the story.

I try to write what isn’t there. Sometimes I want to read a particular sort of book but it doesn’t exist. It then becomes my task to write it.

3. Which authors have influenced you the most?

Authors who take narrative risks and have the technical ability to pull those risks off.

4. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?

I would guess writers have always faced the same fundamental challenge: creating time to write, and generating enough money to live while they do.

Specific to today, writers are required to be more and more available for things which are not writing. Reading events, teaching, interviews and so on. It’s a nice problem to have, but does distract from the business of putting words down on the page.

5. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?

The hardest part of being a writer is actually writing. The easiest part of being a writer is actually writing.

6. Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?

Though she now lives in Edinburgh and doesn’t ‘write about Wales’ as such, Carys Davies is superb. Her style seems effortless, but there is huge diligence in her prose and her stories are surprising and tender and unexpected. Her recent novel THE MISSION HOUSE is brilliant.

Stillicide was selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2020 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation.

Watch Cynan discuss the inspiration for Stillicide and read an excerpt here

Y Diweddaraf