Carol Farrelly is a fiction writer. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel. She holds a DPhil on Thomas Hardy’s fiction. She lived for one gloriously dreamy year in Italy and is in love with all things Venetian.
Her novel, This Starling Flock, was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in 2018. She was previously awarded a Jerwood/Arvon mentorship, a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award. Her short stories have been widely published in journals such as Stand and The Irish Times, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, Fish Prize, RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award and, most recently, the Society of Authors’ ACLS Tom-Gallon Trust Award.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: Toni Morrison. To glean anything of how she wrote a novel so exquisite as Beloved. Also to sit and hear her read. I could spend hours listening to her read. Such a voice, both written and spoken.
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: Recently, yes. A tiny cat made of Murano glass. He’s sky-blue with red ears and tail. He sits on my desk. A little whisper of Venice.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: I tend to return to short story collections more than I do to novels – to figure out their workings, I think. William Trevor. Flannery O’Connor. Lucy Wood. Carys Davies. Alice Munro. Italo Calvino. Lauren Groff. I do often return to The Hours by Michael Cunningham. And to Thomas Hardy, of course.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: Invisibility – the chosen rather than the unchosen kind – because of all the stories I might gather.
The snow monkey groomed her baby into baldness. Pluck, pluck, pluck – as though every soft, honey-brown hair were a tick or a tangle. She only stopped when asleep or eating; and she always resumed as soon as she caught sight of the other monkeys’ neat babies. Pluck, pluck, pluck. Elise came to the wildlife …