The writer & NWS editor
Rachelle Atalla

Friday 28th February 2020

Q1) The first book you ever loved

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Read it as a teenager desperate to escape my suburban existence.

Q2) The book I have read more than any other

Women With Men by Richard Ford. This was the book that initially got me into writing. Jealous, the middle novella, is my particular favourite.

Q3) A book that you despise

Despise is a strong word… I didn't despise Elizabeth Costello by JM Coetzee but I felt so profoundly cheated by the book. And I say this as a Coetzee fan. I found the chapters as 'Lessons' to be condescending. I expected to love it with its Kafkaesque elements but the protagonist is so jaded it reads to me like the thin mask of Coetzee in essay form, hiding behind the fictional character of Elizabeth Costello.

Q4) A book full of beautiful writing

My year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Beautiful, dark and fearless writing. Although I believe this to be true of all her writing.

Q5) The book you've been meaning to read for years, but haven't

Crime and Punishment – it’s sat on my bookcase for years but alas still to be read.

Q6) The book you're reading currently

Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine.

Q7) Your favourite short story

Too hard a question. A story I think about often is Korea by John McGahern.

Q8) Your all-time favourite novel

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. Sorry if that’s cheating. ●

Rachelle Atalla is a literary fiction writer. Her short stories have been published in journals including: The Good Journal, Gutter Magazine and Thi Wurd. She is the recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and is co-editor of New Writing Scotland. Her first short film screenplay is in post-production, commissioned by the BFI.

t: @rachelle_ata


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