Monday, October 5, 2015

Virginia Baily

Virginia Baily holds a PhD and MA in English from the University of Exeter. She founded and co-edits Riptide, a short-story journal. She is also the editor of the political series of the Africa Research Bulletin. She lives in Exeter, Devon.

Baily's debut novel is Early One Morning.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I am reading the advance sampler of a book that will be published in October: The Penguin Book of the British Short Story. If the ten stories in the sampler are anything to go by, it will be a fabulous read. I am excited about this book not just because it aims to provide one example of work from each of the 150 greatest British short story writers – starting with Daniel Defoe and coming right up to date and so gives a taster of the genius that lies beyond, but also because the very fact that Penguin commissioned such a work seems evidence to me of the resurgence of the short story in the UK. I love short stories, I think they offer a very particular literary experience. As Neil Gaiman said: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”

I have just finished reading Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness. I read a wonderful review of her latest novel, Dear Thief but before I could buy the book, saw that there was a copy of her first one, The Wilderness on my bookshelf, unread, waiting for me to notice it. It is a devastating and merciless portrayal of dementia and the loss of memory which somehow manages to be beautiful and vivid too.

I am also dipping in to Fernando Passoa’s The Book of Disquiet – sometimes just reading a few lines and letting them filter through my consciousness. I find him illuminating in a hard-to-pin-down kind of way. It’s as if his baffling words have opened some little window I didn’t quite know was there and allow me to squint through it at an oblique angle. I found this today: “even though nothing truly merits the love of any soul, if, out of sentiment, we must give it, I might just as well lavish it on the smallness of an inkwell as on the grand indifference of the stars.”
Learn more about Early One Morning at the publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: Early One Morning.

--Marshal Zeringue