Pat Barker “I do think that sometimes the seed that sets you off on the process of writing a novel can have been around for many years, even decades, before it actually – for some mysterious reason – comes to fruition… I think it’s almost a good sign if an idea has been fermenting for quite a long time in a sort of semi-conscious way. I’ve learnt to distrust the staggeringly brilliant new idea that was triggered by something that happened quite recently. Ha Ha! You need the dog-eared thing that’s been around for a long time, quietly nagging away at you.”
[in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, May 25 2018]
Barker was talking ahead of the release of her latest novel The Silence of the Girls, a retelling of The Iliad, the story of the Trojan war, fought by men over a beautiful woman, Helen. In the original, Helen is voiceless. Barker tells the story from the point of view of Briseis, queen of Lyrnessus at the beginning of the novel. As her city is sacked by Achilles, Briseis is captured and taken as a prize of war to Troy.
And here you can read the opening paragraph to The Ghost Road, winner of the Booker Prize in 1995.
‘The Silence of the Girls’ by Pat Barker
If you agree with Pat Barker, perhaps you will agree with:-
Lizzie Enfield – On women seeking revenge
Chris Pavone – Put ordinary people into extraordinary situations
James McAvoy – Good writing has to come first
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
I agree with Pat Barker: mistrust the instant brilliant idea https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3pa via @SandraDanby #amwriting