The Playmaker – Thomas Keneally

I studied this book for A Level, 20 years ago, and became fascinated by the story/history of the first British convict settlers in Australia. I loved everything about Keneally’s writing in this book – the themes he covered, the character portrayals etc – and it’s stayed with me. I’m writing my first full collection on this topic and there’s a wealth of literature and historical documents around it, but The Playmaker is what sparked my interest in the first place, and it’ll always be a special book to me.

Furniture – Lorraine Mariner

I first came across Lorraine Mariner’s work in 2010, when I was first becoming interested in poetry. Her poems have such humour and poignancy – they make me cry, they make me laugh out loud, what more could you want! This collection is the book I return to most often, especially in difficult times.

All-American Poem – Matthew Dickman

I’ve loved Matthew Dickman’s work since first hearing Slow Dance. For me, it’s one of those perfect poems that sums up all of the sadness and all of the joy of living. ‘It is what we should be doing right now. Scraping for joy’. Yes!

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

A couple of years ago I read this to my daughter (to my shame, I never read it when I was a child, though I loved the film with Megan Follows as Anne). Anne is just such a wonderful character. And my daughter is a redhead, so we are particularly partial to reading about strong and curious redheads!

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

I’ve picked this book, but really I could pick any Poirot novel here. Poirot is my all-time favourite fictional character! My mum introduced me to Christie’s books when I was young, and I’ve adored them ever since.

Claire Walker is a poet and editor based in Worcestershire, UK. She is the author of two poetry pamphlets from V. Press – The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile (2015) and Somewhere Between Rose and Black (2017), which was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Her third pamphlet, Collision, is published by Against the Grain press in September 2019. She is co-editor of Atrium poetry webzine.

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