Welcome to Lucille Grant, my first guest on this new thread of my blog.
I’m thrilled to be invited by Ruby to list my ten favourite authors. It’s the first time anyone has asked me about books and writing, so here goes. The job of a writer is to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end while stretching the imagination of the reader. I want to be entertained and to learn how to improve my own writing skills. I read a lot, up to fifty books a year, and love finding new writers as well as returning to old favourites.
- W. Somerset Maugham
I admire W. Somerset Maugham for his short stories and his accurate and withering eye of the early 20th century society he lived in. His novel The Razor’s Edge is my favourite of his novels. He was the first adult author I read besides Georgette Heyer when I was in my early teens.
- Daphne du Maurier
Another teenage introduction to the adult world and one of the greatest 20th century women writers. She left an enviable body of work, from Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel to lesser known novels like The Progress of Julius, all of which are gripping stories.
- Gustave Flaubert
I have never been able to read Madame Bovary in French but Flaubert’s poetic prose has been well translated over the years. This is the first book I read written by a man accurately illustrating a female point of view. It is my favourite novel bar none and I re-read it every few years.
- Ian McEwan
His earlier writing works best for me but one that stands out is On Chesil Beach. Prevailing attitudes towards sex in late 1950s England are portrayed so well I could almost envisage the wedding night scene taking place in an era when Lady Chatterley’s Lover was considered obscene.
- Elizabeth Strout
This American novelist is the contemporary writer I most admire. My local library had a copy of Olive Kitteridge when it was first published in 2008 and I kept singing its praises to everyone. Ms Strout’s prose is clear and her characterisation is wonderful. She manages to say so much using the fewest words necessary. My Name is Lucy Barton is my favourite 21st century novel.
- Maggie O’Farrell
I have a passion for Irish writers and Maggie O’Farrell in particular. She writes with great humanity and understanding of the human condition and has a unique style that draws the reader into her stories. I don’t have a particular favourite – each book is different and I highly recommend her books.
- Donal Ryan
Another Irish writer whose prose never fails to move me. It was due to his self belief after receiving 47 rejections that his career took off. Having read his award winning first novel The Spinning Heart, as well as his second The Thing About December, both chronicling contemporary Irish life, I am glad he persevered.
- Barney Norris
A young British writer whose particular skill is characterisation, possibly helped by the fact he is also a successful dramatist. I enjoyed and recommend both his novels: Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain chronicling the stories of witnesses to a traffic accident, and the recently published Turning For Home. There will be plenty more to come, I hope.
- Helen Dunmore
Her recent death is a great loss to British writing. I discovered Dunmore’s novels quite late in her career but love everything she wrote, especially Exposure, the story of secrets and betrayals in London during the Cold War.
- Gail Honeyman
Last but not least, Gail Honeyman is in my top ten. To date she has had one book published: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Eleanor is a character many people either know or can relate to. Even if Ms Honeyman were not to publish another book she would still be one of my favourite writers for her achievement with Eleanor Oliphant.
Lucille has had a varied career including being a fashion designer, store buyer and freelance features journalist. She is currently writing a novel set in the 1970s, which she realises is history now, even though she remembers the decade only too well. She lives in London and Paris with her French partner. You can follow her on Twitter: @L_D_Grant