THREE QUESTIONS: 
Laura Kaye

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF – HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? ANY PUBLICATIONS? DO YOU HAVE A DAILY WRITING ROUTINE?

I have been writing for about ten years now. In 2017 my debut novel English Animals was published by Little, Brown and since then I have been working on a second novel, which should be completed this year. My routine involves listening to classical music on my headphones and working  first thing in the morning. I’m terrible in the afternoons! Recently I have been going to the British Library so that I can be around other people, even if I don’t speak to them. It’s distracting as everyone looks so interesting!

SPECIFICALLY, TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR LONGLISTED STORY – THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, THE WRITING OF IT...

My story ‘Girls’ was inspired by a stint I did as a promotions girl in my early twenties. You might be able to guess which of the girls in the story I might be! The job involved getting people to stop on the street and try a product or switch their sim card to a phone network. I absolutely hated it! I really didn’t have the right personality for it. I’m not smiley or confident in the way that you have to be and I hated the look in people’s eyes when you approached them. Then on top of that, we had to wear so much make-up and I felt really uncomfortable with all this lipstick and blusher on. In the end, I used to skive off and go and sit in a café for the day and faked all my results. Nobody ever seemed to notice. Literature wise, the voice was probably influenced a bit by the short stories of David Foster Wallace and the way he creates a language that is somehow bent and mutilated by corporate speak. I wanted to capture that flat, numb feeling that comes from working in these environments where you have to be so fake. 

NAME THREE SHORT STORY WRITERS YOU ESPECIALLY ADMIRE – WHY?

Probably my favourite book in the world is the collected stories of Richard Yates. I have read it so many times. The characters are so real and funny and seem to come from that particular time in New York. I also love the stories in Roberto Bolaño’s Last Evenings on Earth for their darkness and sense of loss and loneliness. He is brilliant at creating a sense of unease. And Lydia Davis – she’s such a unique writer and so witty.

  • read Laura’s 2018/19 GBP Prize longlisted story, ‘Girls’, here.


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LAURA KAYE is a novelist and short story writer based in London. Her debut novel English Animals was published by Little, Brown in 2017 and was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award. It tells the story of a woman from Slovakia who comes to the UK to work on a pheasant shooting estate and ends up becoming a taxidermist. Part lesbian love story, part satire of rural English life, it is also an exploration of our strange relationship with the animal kingdom. In between writing, she works as a documentary producer specialising in arts and music. She is currently working on a second novel.