Book Talk: Ali Shaw makes magic with debut novel

Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:07pm EST
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters) - British writer Ali Shaw drew inspiration from fairy tales for his debut novel and to magical effect, with "The Girl With Glass Feet" published to great acclaim.

The novel, which has been short-listed for the Costa First Book Award, is a set in a snowbound, remote land where winged creatures and albino animals live and Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass when she falls in love.

The novel will be published in the United States in January.

Shaw, who was born in 1982 and has worked as a bookseller at Oxford's Bodleian Library since graduating with a first class degree in English Literature, spoke to Reuters about his writing:

Q: Were you surprised by the reaction to your book?

A: "Yes, very, and delighted obviously. So many books are published every year and your hope is only that a few people will read it and enjoy it but it seems to have touched a nerve with people and that is fantastic."

Q: Was it hard to be published?

A: "I went down the traditional route of getting an agent who was fantastic and we worked a bit on the book together. She tracked down (publisher) Grove Atlantic and the editor there was really helpful and helped improve the book no end. I feel I am lucky as you hear horror stories but everyone got the gist of what the book was trying to be. I feel I have got through it all with a reasonable amount of bones intact really."   Continued...

 
<p>British writer Ali Shaw poses for a portrait in this undated handout photo. Shaw drew inspiration from fairy tales for his debut novel and to magical effect, with "The Girl With Glass Feet" published to great acclaim. REUTERS/Iona Mileham/Handout</p>