Toby Wallis lives in Suffolk, UK. He has had an interest in writing since he was young, but started taking it seriously after he survived a brain haemorrhage when he was thirty. Since then, Toby’s writing has been published in a number of places, both online and in print. He has won the Glimmer Train New Writers Award and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize and the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. He is currently working on a novel.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: Either Franz Kafka or Natalia Ginzburg. I have no idea what I’d say to either of them, but I would love to see what they were like.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: I don’t remember a specific book, but I was obsessed with books from a young age. I used to try and write my own stuff in the blank pages of my mum’s library books. It just seemed like such a waste to have blank pages, and I was sure I could fill them with something. She was always reading enormous novels and I wanted to be someone that read enormous novels too.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: ‘I feel like a citizen, it’s time to leave and come back a drifter,’ from Jean Michel Basquiat. Or ‘We couldn’t speak low enough to be heard,’ from Henry David Thoreau.
Q: Who is your personal inspiration?
A: Ali Smith. Her writing is wonderful, but I have been lucky enough to see her read a few times and she is like a well of gushing enthusiasm for literature. I want to be as full of life as she is.
From the table I had chosen in the coffee shop I could see the entrance of the train station. Already I had seen three trains arrive and the crowds emerge and disperse. Absolutely everyone that walked out of the station looked like they could have been the lead in a charming romantic comedy. I had …