Christmas countdown: in conversation with Kate Davis

Blog / Tom Chivers

In the lead-up to Christmas we’ve decided to give our readers an exclusive insight into some of the inspirational books we’ve published this year. Each week, Sales and Marketing Coordinator Bex Shorunke will be quizzing your favourite authors on their motivations and writing tips.

Our final post comes from magical realist poet Kate Davis in light of her debut collection The Girl Who Forgets How To Walk. In this uncompromising, brave sequence of poems memory and myth blur as the narrator reimagines the landscape of Cumbria and her place within it. In this interview, Kate notes the cathartic element to her writing, the importance of reading, and the creative talent emerging out of Cumbria.

What were your motivations behind writing The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk?

I simply wanted to sort out the hundreds of poems and ideas into something that made sense. I hardly ever sent out work because I couldn’t separate one thing from another; everything seemed terribly tangled and unclear. Putting the book together came about because I realised that all those things actually were tied up together. I don’t think I had any motivation beyond that to be honest.

What would you like your readers to get out of your book?

I don’t think I wanted anyone to take anything specific from it, certainly when I was writing it. Even now that it’s our in the world I can’t think of anything definite. I know that I particularly didn’t want them to see it as a kind of ‘misery memoir.’ I have been delighted though, when people say they really enjoyed it. Several have said they intended to just dip in but found themselves reading it in one go, which is interesting and pleasing.

Thinking about the contemporary cultural scene, who are some interesting writers or artists you’ve got your eye on?

Helen Mort’s poetry has always been fascinating and beautifully made. I’ve just ordered her stories/novel Exire actually. There’s a young Cumbrian woman, Hannah Hodgson (Wayleave Press), who writes compellingly about illness and the body and another young Cumbrian poet, Matt Sowerby, who writes and performs brilliantly. I also find Manchester-based Amy McCauley’s work risk-taking, exciting and challenging. Andrew Fentham has been in Cornwall for several years now; his work is whip-smart and I find his use of language breath-taking. Artists whose work I admire? I think I’d have to say Art Gene who are based here in Barrow. Although they do make stunning, subtle, thoughtful pieces of art their work focuses more on the social, natural and built environment. They are astonishingly good at what they do and their vision is astonishingly ambitious.

What advice would you give to any budding writers?

Read. Read all the time and all manner of things, particularly things you don’t think are for you. Learn as much as you can about how poetry works. And don’t fret.

Order your copy of The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk for Christmas and get 20% off while stocks last

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