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Emilia di Girolamo Interview

Posted on 16 February 2004. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Emilia di Girolamo, short story, novel, theatre and screen writer and now WriteWords site expert

Tell us something about your background.

Novels: Freaky,published by Pulp Books (Spacehopper); The Ice Cream Man (still working on this for 2005).
Plays: Committed, Chemistry Set, Cell Spin, Boom Bye Bye (Paines Plough Wild Lunch) currently in development. 1000 Fine Lines (Flying Machine, Time Out Critics Choice) new production and USA tour in 2005, Finalist Derek Lomas Playwriting Competition. Falling is my latest play.
TV: Working with Clerkenwell Films on developing my own TV series and a TV single drama of Boom Bye Bye. Writing for another new series.
Poetry: The Bed, 3rd place winner in Poetry Life Open Poetry Comp 2003.

How did you start writing?

I went to university to study drama believing I wanted to act but in the 2nd year we had to do performance projects, which were basically any play we wanted to do. I had this story that I had carried with me since childhood and I kept thinking, 'if only someone wrote a play about that'. When I told a friend, she said, 'well go on then, you write and I'll direct'. That was how it started. I wrote the play and acted in it and we got a high mark and a good reception from the audiences. I entered it in the Questors Student Playwriting Competition and was a runner up. We ended up taking the play out on tour in the summer to a few small-scale venues and it went really well. I didn't write anything else until I left university. I was acting in one of Stephen Plaice's plays- he published The Devil (then called The Printers Devil). I told him a story about my sister and he asked me to write it. I did and it got published so that was my first paid published work. That gave me the confidence to write a bit more and I started going to workshops. After a particularly inspiring workshop with Anna Reynolds I decided to write a novel. Anna suggested the short story I had written was part of something bigger and it just hadn't crossed my mind before. I read that Jeanette Winterson had written Oranges are not the only fruit in 6 weeks so I thought I would give it a go! I wrote my first novel in 5 weeks. A writer friend read it and passed it on to his agent without telling me. The agent rang up and said he wanted to meet and things started moving. Sadly that novel was rejected by just about everyone and is gathering dust somewhere under my desk but my second one, Freaky was published. I have written another novel The Ice Cream Man but I have put it aside for a few months to work on my TV projects and get some new perspective on it.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

I recently read Affinity by Sarah Waters and it was one of those books I wish I had written. It held me utterly captive from beginning to end. I find her writing so gripping. She has a real ability to take the reader right inside her characters and the world of the book so that you absolutely experience it. Alice Sebold is another favourite for very similar reasons and I think The Lovely Bones is one of the most incredible books ever written. I probably read far more fact than fiction but other favourite writers are Raymond Carver, Jeanette Winterson, Italo Calvino and poets - Thom Gunn, Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith, Stephen Plaice, Tess Gallagher.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.






Comments by other Members



Elsie at 22:09 on 16 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Emilia, this looks really interesting (I have copied it to read properly later). I did try to order 'freaky' from amazon, but they said there was a delay on it . Wow, you do work hard.
Elsie

old friend at 07:28 on 18 February 2004  Report this post
One of the best interviews I have read. Thanks. It is full of sound practical advice, particularly on the 'competition out there' and the way in which you have faced up to rejections. Welcome, Amelia.
Len

Zigeroon at 12:19 on 27 February 2004  Report this post


Am attempting to grow thick skin so rejections don't hurt. It was interesting to note that everybody, however good, seems to recieve the dreaded rejections on a regular basis.

As always with these interviews, inspiration comes from knowing that it's persperation from continuosly putting things out there that will win in the end (I hope).

Andrew


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