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Date TimeOctober 26, 2019
VoiceThe writer and director on how her new novel came to her in dreams, the three female artists who’ve influenced her most, and the restorative effect of Rachel Cusk’s trilogy
Emma Forrest: ‘I have a shelf just of the books my exes gave me’
Emma Forrest is an acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and director. Born in London in 1976, she got her first break in journalism aged 15 and has since written three novels, Namedropper, Thin Skin and Cherries in the Snow, as well as a memoir, Your Voice in My Head. Her screenplays include Liars (A-E), Know Your Rights and Love Minus Zero. Her directorial debut, Untogether, premiered at the Tribeca film festival in 2018 and was released in the UK in July this year. Her new novel, Royals, is a love story that explores the power of art and the pull of family ties.
What inspired you to write your new book?There was a different novel I’d been working on for about eight years. In the middle of that, when I was still living in LA [she lives in London now], this book started coming to me in dreams. I’ve had ideas in dreams before, but this was coming in consecutive dreams. I also had a useful pressure – my husband [the actor Ben Mendelsohn] and I were separating. I’d agreed to be packed and out of the house by a certain date and I didn’t even know where I was going to end up living. The house we shared had a little laundry room which turned into my office and I wrote feverishly, over three months. I wanted to write something loving, optimistic and hopeful. With the characters, I took a young gay guy and an heiress and gave them all the love that I didn’t know what to do with.

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