Viva La Novella Shortlister – Libby Sommer

What do you do in your day job/life?

I write, edit, and teach creative writing.

What’s the earliest thing you remember writing?

At primary school I wrote a story about a letter hidden in the back of a small drawer of a dressing table.

When do you like to write?

Early mornings.

If you could brunch with anyone, who would it be?


Most important thing the Internet has taught you:

How to research quickly.

A quotation you have used more than once:

Rumi:  'The Guest House'

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.


Jalaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, 1999

What’s next?

I'm continuing to write stories about urban contemporary life.