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Carys Davies

Carys Davies is the author of a novel, West, and two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the 2015 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. She is also the recipient of the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize, the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Short Story Award, a Northern Writers’ Award, and a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library.

Her short stories have been nominated for many other awards, including the Sunday Times/EFG Short Story Award and the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Prize. They have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and widely published in magazines and anthologies, including GrantaThe Dublin ReviewHead LandLove, Loss & The Lives of Women: 100 Great Short StoriesNew Welsh Short StoriesPloughsharesThe Royal Society of Literature Review, and The Stinging Fly. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, GrantaThe GuardianThe London Evening Standard, Marie Claire, the Sunday Telegraph and The Times. She has curated the short fiction programme at Lancaster Litfest, given talks and taught writing at universities, festivals, literary salons and libraries across the UK and in Ireland. Recent festival appearances include the Cork International Short Story Festival, the London Short Story Festival, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the Vancouver Writers Festival, and York International Women’s Festival.

Born in Wales, she lives in Lancaster in northwest England.


Found on the web at: www.carysdavies.net​​

Carys’s Top Tips:

  • Don’t feel you have to overcome your fear of writing: feeling afraid when you sit down to write is both normal and good, and the best stories are the ones you think you can’t possibly pull off. I am still afraid, every day, when I sit down to write, often to the point of feeling physically ill. I still feel that I don’t know how to do it and that’s because every story is different: you can never do the same things twice; every story has its own way of being told.

  • Learn to shake off the feeling that someone’s looking over your shoulder while you write – I have to remind myself all the time that no one’s there and I can write anything I want, however bad it might be in the beginning,

  • Never throw anything away. First and early drafts often have some of the best and freshest writing you do.

  • Don’t be disheartened when, over and over, you get very excited because you think you have something only to find that in a matter of days or months or years, it turns to dust, to ash on the page. I’ve learned that short stories do that to you all the time: they slip through your fingers. It goes with the territory, but I’ve also learned that without the failures you won’t get the ones that work – they draw unconsciously on everything you’ve been trying to do. The failures are the life-blood of the ones that end up working out.

  • The only way to figure out what a story is by writing it; I can’t imagine having ‘an idea’ for a story and then sitting down to execute that idea. I start with something, however small, and the story builds from there.

  • Be patient. Be really, really patient, and be aware that the moment you’re about to throw everything in the fire is often the moment when what you need to do is just press on, maybe jump ahead in the narrative. I’ve learned that there are days when you do nothing good for eight hours and then in five minutes at the end of it you’ll write three or four sentences that are worth something – and which you would never have written without those eight hours.

Carys’s Recommended Books: