After a career as a published illustrator and cartoonist, Maggie Ling swapped dip pen for iMac to work with words alone. Since then, her prose fiction has been listed in numerous international short story competitions, including a shortlisting for the Bridport Prize and publication in Unthology 1 (Unthank Books 2010), Something Was There… : Asham Award-Winning Ghost Stories (Virago 2011), and Unthology 5 (Unthank Books 2014). Her story ‘Let Her Go’ was Seren Books Short Story of the Month (Seren Books: October 2017). A collection of her short fiction will be published later this year. She lives in Norwich, a UNESCO city of literature.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: No particular writer is at the forefront of my mind. Though when forced to come up with my fantasy dinner party guests recently, I chose Tom Payne, Bruce Springsteen and Mary Wollstonecraft. So Mary it must be, with thanks for all she did in her radical but too short life.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: I’ve never been attracted to power, super or otherwise. On the other hand… if I had it within my power to neutralise the power-hungry leaders of the superpowers and emirates of this world and magically turn them into peace-loving egalitarians, then I’d be tempted to use it!
Q: Who is your personal inspiration?
A: There is no particular who. There’s the stuff of life. Human emotions. Relationships. Politics. Love. Sex. Death.
In my perverse mind it’s summertime: that hot summer of 1976. Which it could not have been, since Lukey was born in January. Even so, I persist in seeing it this way. Seeing my mother, in bikini and tie-dyed sarong, drifting from shaded bedroom to sun-scorched balcony, a whiff of coconut suntan lotion wafting through …
It’s their highly responsive MHV! Aurelia said, adopting that high-flown tone of hers. They were discussing the intelligence of birds. Aurelia had edged the conversation in that direction, maybe as a way of proving, if proof was needed, how very clever she was. Her PhD had been on avian cognition: Thinking Psittacinae-fashion. She had spent …