Instalment two of our meet the Viva editors, we introduce the talented Nicola Redhouse. Here's how she answered our questions:
What are your literary pets?
I’m most interested in the subjective human experience, and when this is explored, in relation to almost anything, with an authentic voice and crafted writing, you’ve got me. I have been captivated in recent years by Rachel Cusk, Helen Garner, Geoff Dyer, Leslie Jamison, and many more.
In all genres, I pay a lot of attention to line-by-line language – I am drawn to understanding meaning in the way that Janet Malcolm has put it: 'Life is lived on two levels of thought and act: one in our awareness and the other only inferable, from dreams, slips of the tongue, and inexplicable behaviour.' Writing that acknowledges, in its lyricism, this duality of experience, attracts me. My main literary pet, though, is my spoodle, April (pictured), who reads widely but prefers a good crime novel.
What are your favourite novellas?
Alone by Beverly Farmer. It’s exquisitely lyrical, almost visceral in its sensory language. It evokes inner-city Melbourne in the truest way - a way that makes me feel nostalgic for my first taste of the city – and conjures for me so deftly the hollow grief of unrequited love.
Equal to that is Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall, which is just about the most brilliant piece of writing I have ever read: strange, heart-stopping, devastating, metaphysical and luscious in its language.
I always return with interest to The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love its dreamlike quality, its capacity for containing untethered meaning. Recently, I came across Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker article (The Strange Triumph of ‘The Little Prince’), which gave me a new way to understand it, and my interest in it, in terms of being a story of war.
Why do you get up in the morning?
Why, practically? Because children need food and dogs need fresh air – otherwise I would take a good while longer. Why, existentially? Curiosity. There are always new books to read, new ideas to explore in writing, a new conversation to be had, a new thing to teach my children and learn from them.
What else are you involved in?
I’m a writer, with short stories in Best Australian Stories 2014, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Wet Ink and harvest. I’m slowly working on a creative nonfiction work, when time allows. I’m also (obviously) a book editor, and I have worked for publishers including Sleepers Publishing, Hardie Grant, UWA Publishing, Harlequin, and Penguin Random House. I also sometimes teach at RMIT in the creative writing department. Otherwise, I am quite busy at all hours feeding and watering a beautiful four-year-old boy and a delicious 14-month-old boy.