Amy Slack is a writer and editor from the north-east of England. After studying for an English degree in Belfast, she now lives and works in London, where she gently reminds people that there is life beyond the M25. She is currently studying part-time for a Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck.
Amy’s short stories have been published by Flashback Fiction, Spelk, Milk Candy Review, Honey and Lime, and the Mechanics’ Institute Review, among others. In 2020 she was shortlisted for the Belfast Book Festival Mairtín Crawford Award and the Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: Top of my list would be the Brontë sisters. So much brilliance and creativity coming from three young women in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside – I’d love to sit with them for a while and just listen to them talk with one another.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: My Dad used to read my sisters’ old Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl books to me when I was little. They filled a shelf in our old dresser in the dining room, and when he turned the pages, I could smell all the polish from the dresser doors. The Roald Dahls stuck with me most, because of how completely daft they all were. I can still vividly remember one particularly perfect line from Dahl’s take on Little Red Riding Hood in Revolting Rhymes:
‘The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. / She whips a pistol from her knickers…’
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: My pillow, inasmuch as it is almost always present when I am working on my writing. Either I have my laptop propped up on it while I am typing away, or else I am dozing off to sleep on it, which is when I tend to come up with new story ideas.
It was common knowledge that Stanley Walsh lived in a zoo. Through the yellowing lace curtains of 17 Church Street, passers-by regularly caught sight of a ferret’s tail or a pheasant’s wing, though few would linger long enough to see the whole picture. Old Stan had long kept to himself, rarely spotted out of doors, …