New voice Catherine Lacey on self-criticism

Anti-heroes and dystopias are more interesting to me, as a reader and writer, than their tidier counterparts. Nikky and Nathan’s friendship is, in a way, a kind of dystopia: almost everything necessary for human connection is dysfunctional; it’s a kind of exaggeration of all that can go wrong between two people.

This interview with Catherine Lacey, Granta’s first new voice of 2014, appealed to The Incubator not just because of the story by a great, refreshing new writer but also the search for voice itself in writing fiction.

Lacey states that if she starts of with an intent in her fiction she may disregard it later. It is always interesting to read other writers’ thoughts on their own individual process, inspiration and the themes that raise their heads in their work.

In her story Small Differences the question if people can really change is recurrent. Her characters fail to connect and Lacey asks, in her interview with Louise Scothern, if she would even want to write about ‘well-adjusted friends who just love and support each other’. I wonder if we would want to read that story either. Would it be boring to read? Would it be boring to write? Perhaps not. Maybe that story would be equally refreshing.

On fleshing out her characters Lacey notes that ‘everyone has multiple, distinct aspects to their personalities’. These aspects she likes to put at odds with each other. It is the making-human of her characters which draws the reader in.

Small Differences is online now.

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