Books that changed me: Liz Nugent

Author Liz Nugent standing in blue dress

Since publication of her first novel Unravelling Oliver, Irish author Liz Nugent’s career has scaled increasingly dizzy heights. Having won two awards for her latest, Skin Deep, at the 2018 Irish Book Awards, she shared with us the novels that have influenced her life and work.

I think damaged people are more interesting to read about than happy-clappy, ‘life is wonderful’ people—for me anyway, they’re the characters I like to read.

I wanted to write before I knew how to read. I know that sounds bizarre, but when I was a child and couldn’t read yet, I used to watch my older sister writing into her copybook and I would copy the shapes that she made. I was jealous, because books took her attention away from me, and I really wanted to hold somebody’s attention like those books held hers as a child. So that’s where my wanting to write came from.

The Book of Evidence //John Banville

This is the book that inspired me to write. I was working on a stage version of it in 2002 and I thought, if I ever write a book I want to create a character as deeply flawed as Freddie Montgomery. I just thought he was such a fascinating character; flawed men in literature really appeal to me. Engleby by Sebastian Faulks intrigued me in the same way. The Book of Evidence really grabbed me, and out of that came Unravelling Oliver, my first novel.
Twitter – @lizzienugent

Order your copy of ALHAUS magazine No. 4 to learn more about Liz and the books that have inspired her work.

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