In 2013 London bookseller Evie Wyld was named one of Granta’s best British novelists under 40 – though she grew up in rural Australia, where both of her novels are set. Her first book, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, a moving love letter to Queensland, won several awards.
Her most recent book, All the Birds, Singing, is a darkly beautiful novel infused with a palpable sense of dread. Parallel stories follow a woman raising sheep on a remote English island and a shearer on the run in Western Australia.
Reviewing it in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mandy Sayer wrote that Wyld’s background ‘has served her well in creating a fictional world so visceral, masculine and dangerous that she could be thought of as a love child of Henry Lawson and Barbara Baynton’.
Wyld returns to antipodean shores to discuss her latest novel and the dual life of an Australian author living in England. She appears in conversation with Benjamin Law.
Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and the UK. She is part owner of Review, a small independent bookshop in London. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 she was listed as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Evie’s second novel, All The Birds, Singing, was published in 2013. It was longlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She is the winner of the 2013 Encore Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the 2014 Miles Franklin Award. Her graphic novel with illustrator Joe Sumner, Everything Is Teeth, was published in 2015. Her third novel, The Bass Rock, was published in 2020 and won the 2021 Stella Prize.
Benjamin Law writes books, TV screenplays, columns, essays and feature journalism. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017).
He also created and co-wrote three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, and his sold-out debut play Torch the Place (Melbourne Theatre Company) ran February–March 2020.