Posted on 2 April 2013
Sophie's first novel, Rites, won Route Publishing's Next Great Novelist Award and was published in 2012. The award from the Arts Council will support her while she takes a three-month break from her PhD to research and write her second novel, set in London on the eve and outbreak of the French Revolution.
Sophie says: "The novel will trace the interwoven stories of two powerful political and intellectual coteries, both of them observing revolutionary events across the Channel and questioning what they mean for England. It will provide an opportunity for me to continue experimenting with narrative voice, which was the aspect of my first book that probably got the most interesting critical feedback; the narrative will be told from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives and styles including pastiche eighteenth-century forms such as letters, journals, newspapers, handbills, trial transcripts, prints etc; as well as in the free indirect discourse style of historical novels such as Andrew Miller's 'Pure' and Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' trilogy.
This is a particularly interesting project for me because it was inspired by some of the interdisciplinary material - and the narrative styles - I've encountered over the course of my doctorate at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, which has been an invaluable and inspirational environment to develop my ideas. So I'll have the experience over 2013 of responding critically and creatively to the same material, which will hopefully give me some insights into how the relationship between creativity and analysis works for me."
Arts Council Grants for the arts, funded by the National Lottery, are for "activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work."