I Must Read Writer Cathi Unsworth

The Ladies of Noir: A Roundtable Discussion

Cathi Unsworth quotes from that:

Noir writers, as opposed to straight crime fiction writers, are also to me the most beautiful prose writers. My hair stands on end with awe when I read my favourites — David Peace, Derek Raymond, James Ellroy, Nelson Algren — all of whom nail the places and the people who live in them so well because they have so much compassion. Their work isn’t dark to me; it is the guiding light.

Oh yes. That’s exactly it for me too: my hair stands on end!


Derek Raymond was my first inspiration, who I met when he made an album with my friends Gallon Drunk in 1993. It was just in time to save me from the horror of Britpop that was about to unfold, and thanks to him, I spent the next decade getting lost in the 70-odd years of hardboiled and noir fiction that had until then been an undiscovered country to a girl obsessed by music. Then I was fortunate enough to meet the great Noir writers Martyn Waites and Ken Bruen, both of whom encouraged me that I did have enough talent to take that leap myself and write a book. What inspires and informs my writing is my experience of 40 years on this troubled planet and the rage that it engenders, my complete nosiness and glowering sense of injustice, and a perpetual soundtrack of music that goes with the writing.

And I am so jealous:

You cite Derek Raymond as a major influence. Was meeting him a bit like coming home?

Unsworth: I think he was the most exciting person I have ever met. Strange, I know, when you consider that I was 25 or 26 and he was 63 or 64. But the energy and the amazing analytical brainpower coming off that man were like nothing I have ever experienced before, and brilliant things went on around him all the time. Ask anyone who knew him and they will tell you the same thing, he just made everyone around him feel very happy. Reading his book I Was Dora Suarez was a turning point in my life, it showed me the direction I needed to go down, although it took me another ten years to get there, as I said before, a decade of feasting on the finest crime fiction, before I was ready to begin.

Previously here:

Derek Raymond: Read ALL Of His Work

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