Guardian Interview, Lisa Allardice

Guardian Interview, Lisa Allardice

Helen Simpson’s new year’s resolution is to read one short story before she gets out of bed every morning. “I like the idea of something complete, one short story with a cup of tea – you’d have stolen a march on the day. If people can meditate or do yoga or whatever, I don’t see why I can’t read for 15 minutes each morning.” She is one of only a few writers to have built a reputation exclusively on short stories. There is Alice Munro, still writing – and getting “better and better” in Simpson’s view, and Katherine Mansfield, to whom she is often compared. In 1993 she was voted one of the Best Young British Novelists in Granta’s 20 writers under 40 on the strength of just one collection. “I thought, ‘Oh good, that gives me a bit more time with the short story. But whenever people mention it now, they still say, ‘Well, she hasn’t actually written a novel!’ I’ll do a novel if I feel like it. Up until now, everything I’ve wanted to say, I’ve been able to say in stories. I like to find an image. I like to cut things down.”


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