In this autobiographical response to George Orwell’s Why I Write Deborah Levy explains:
‘To become a writer, I had to learn to interrupt, to speak up, to speak a little louder, and then louder, and then to just speak in my own voice which is not loud at all.’
‘Perhaps when Orwell described sheer egoism as a necessary quality for a writer, he was not thinking about the sheer egoism of a female writer. Even the most arrogant female writer has to work over time to build an ego that is robust enough to get her through January, never mind all the way to December.’
Deborah Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts, leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, highly acclaimed for their ‘intellectual rigour, poetic fantasy and visual imagination’. She wrote and published her first novel, Beautiful Mutants, when she was 27 years old. The experience of not having to give her words to a director, actors and designer to interpret was so exhilarating, she wrote a few more. Swimming Home was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.