Author West Camel opens up in an exclusive piece for Female First
Author West Camel opens up in an exclusive piece for Female First

On publication of his new literary novel Fall (Orenda Books), author and editor West Camel talks exclusively to Female First and opens up for readers, revealing five things he'd like them to know about him...

1. When I left my corporate city job, I decided to make a clean break and give myself a new name for my new work in publishing and the arts. After toying with a few variations, I had an idea: what about the name of the village my family lived in back in the 17th century? My uncle had a passion for genealogy and had managed to trace a branch of our family back to two villages in Somerset: Queen Camel and West Camel. I plumped for West. Maybe I’ll use Queen for screenwriting...

2. At one time I was a writer and reviewer for now defunct arts and culture magazine, Culture Compass. I mostly looked after the book reviews, but I got to do some other really rewarding stuff too. I interviewed artist Sir Peter Blake, prize-winning author Damian Barr, and the writer of the film Precious, Geoffrey Fletcher. I was also sent to Porto for a horror film festival and did a stint at the Edinburgh festivals, where I attended something like 20 events in four days.

3. I currently work as a book editor. I started out at a very literary outfit where I edited a prestigious anthology of European writers. I edited non-fiction for a couple of publishers, and then started with Orenda Books, where I’m now Editorial Director. I’ve become quite good at dividing my brain into ‘the writer’ and ‘the editor’. Sometimes, however, it’s good to turn the writer on when I’m editing someone else, because I can give them some ideas to work with. And I can also turn the editor on when I’m writing and anticipate what my editor will say.

4. I had a stint a few years ago writing for the theatre. I had a small piece performed as part of a showcase at The Royal Court Theatre, and I was longlisted for The Old Vic’s playwrights scheme. But probably my favourite theatre moment was seeing a playlet I’d written being performed at the Victoria & Albert Museum library. Me and a few other writers were set the task of writing pieces specifically for the library, but we had no contact with the director or actors. When I saw how they’d approached my piece I was really moved.

5. As a teenager, I think I spent almost every moment outside school doing some kind of music. I learned to play the piano first, and then took up the cello at secondary school. Turned out I was really good at that, so I spent most weekends and evenings dragging my cello on and off buses to and from lessons, rehearsals, concerts etc. I wasn’t at a high enough level to be a soloist, though, and didn’t fancy teaching or working as an orchestral cellist. I think I prefer being a writer. But I still take out my cello or open the piano every now and then.

Fall, by West Camel, is out now!
Fall, by West Camel, is out now!

From the Polari First Novel Prize shortlisted novelist West Camel is new novel Fall, available now from Orenda Books.

MORE FROM BOOKS: How to have the best relationship with your dog, by author and pro trainer Niki French


Tagged in