Rosie Garland Interview – and special Friends Scheme book offer!

We are delighted to offer Friends a whopping 50% discount off two of the award-winning author, Rosie Garland’s books. VIXEN and PALACE OF CURIOSITIES.

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Rosie’s unique, poetic and witty works (Jenni Murray calls her Angela Carter-esque!) explores what it is to be human, and an outsider searching to belong.

We asked Rosie about her work in an exclusive interview for the Sheros of the Library.

Feminist Library: What’s The Palace of Curiosities about?

Rosie: The Palace of Curiosities is set in an early Victorian sideshow. It is about what it’s like to live on the fringes of society, the struggle to remember and hang onto who and what we are, and just how important that is. It’s told through the eyes of Eve, a young woman who is born entirely covered in hair. Her story is interwoven with that of Abel. He is also profoundly ‘different’ – but not in such a visible way. Both of them are outsiders, and both are searching for escape.


palaceUnlike a number of other circus novels (eg Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus) I wanted the ‘freaks’ to speak in first person. It felt very important that they tell their own story rather than having someone else tell it for them. The Palace of Curiosities explores what it means to be different, and traces a struggle for self-discovery on the boundaries of what is perceived as human.

Feminist Library: How did you get into writing?

Rosie: A very early memory is of my grandmother reading fairy stories. Magical elsewheres and elsewhens that transported me far away from childhood rural England. Which was, and is, a delightful place to be unless you are in any way different. This wasn’t restricted to sexuality – anything that wasn’t marriage and 2.4 children was regarded as deeply suspect.

It wasn’t long before I started telling my own tales. I have a cough-sweet tin filled with books I created for my dolls, and produced my first novel aged nine: a science fiction extravaganza featuring rockets and sharks.


VIXENFeminist Library: Do you work with the same themes?

Rosie One of the many pleasures of creating fictional worlds is the opportunity to give a voice to those who don’t make it into the history books. A motif running through all my writing is that of the outsider; someone who won’t (or can’t) squeeze into the one-size-fits-all templates on offer and the friction that occurs when they try. I know this comes from having always been an outsider myself.

I’m not interested in creating narrow worlds. I’m interested in creating characters who are greedy, curious, yearning, silly, striving, hopeful, cantankerous, nurturing, disobedient, sneaky and self-serving. Characters with unrequited sexual desires because of guilt, self-denial, or fear of social condemnation. In short, characters who live and breathe and change; and as they change their desires change and develop too.



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