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My First Time...with Ellen Wiles

Ellen Wiles, The Riff Raff

Ellen WIles is a former barrister, a literary critic and she is currently researching a PhD in literary anthropology and publishing, focusing on the performance of fiction at live events within contemporary literary culture, which is based in the University of Stirling and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It will be turned into book about live literature for Palgrave.

Ellen will be reading from her first book, The Invisible Crowd, this very Thursday so...

Get your tickets here >>

Here's the blurb for The Invisible Crowd...

'2nd March 1975: In Asmara, Eritrea, Yonas Kelati is born into a world of turmoil. At the same time, on the same day, Jude Munroe takes her first breath in London, England.

Thirty Years Later: Blacklisted in his war-ravaged country, Yonas has no option but to flee his home. After a terrible journey, he arrives on a bleak English coast. By a twist of fate, Yonas’ asylum case lands on Jude’s desk. Opening the file, she finds a patchwork of witness statements from those who met Yonas along his journey: a lifetime the same length of hers, reduced to a few scraps of paper. Soon, Jude will stand up in court and tell Yonas’ story. How she tells it will change his life forever.'

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?

I was a newbie barrister, wading through case files and relevant judgements for an asylum case I was working on, and thought: there are incredible, important stories in here. And they never get heard in the news. They have to be told differently, and shared more widely. Could I do this in a novel? Ha, no – don’t be ridiculous!

Read more My First Time interviews >>

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?