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Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Damian Walford Davies
Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Damian Walford Davies, about his writing and his influences.
1. What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?
Becoming an author was about experimenting with voice – almost exclusively someone else’s, located in a different time and place. Ideas – as that first sentence might suggest – are sparked by small incidents in the history (near, far; recent, ancient) and non-fiction that I read – the unsettling micro-stories, not the grand narratives . . .
2. How would you describe your writing?
Pared-down, ironic, disqueting . . .
3. Which authors have influenced you the most?
Authors who are seemingly miles apart in style and content: R. S. Thomas, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Thomas De Quincey, M. R. James, Sherwood Anderson, Edgar Lee Masters.
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?
Relevance and agency in an age of almost-certainly-assured (self-)destruction through climate change and the degradation of the natural world. Yes, those challenges have changed since I started writing, such is the pace of our destructiveness as a species.
5. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?
It’s a craft – to be laboured at. A poem will gestate in single words that one builds/sews/sutures/grafts/ knocks into larger structures, following new logics and prompts one didn’t set out with. Sometimes small elements will unlock the wider, finished piece. That is what is both hard and easy about the business.
6. Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?
Caradoc Evans. Irony that isn’t irony, close to the bone, with an invented patois that burrows into the skull.
Docklands: A Ghost Story was selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2019 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation.