Interview Philippa Crundwell

Philippa Crundwell is a twenty-year-old writer hailing from Sussex, England. After winning the Peace One Day poetry competition in 2013, she had her debut poetry anthology commissioned and published, which launched in Waterstones in 2015. You can find out more about it here. You can also tweet Philippa @PipCrundwell.

1. Congratulations on winning our contest with ‘The Water Tower’. What inspired you?
It’s always hard to pin point what inspires a writer. For me, at least, a good story only develops if the ideas have been stewing in my subconscious for some time. But in the case of ‘The Water Tower’, I think I’ve always found water towers to be imposing, eerie places – a symbol of the unknown yet also vital for life. This concept combined with the aridity of the desert setting gave birth to the story about boys on the cusp of adulthood, both threatened and enchanted by the vast unknown spread before them. I suppose I’m reflecting on my own experiences of adolescence and saying rather cynically that for many young people the future seems simultaneously arid and dangerous.


2. How did you break into the publishing world?
I first became published through entering a poetry competition. I was doing my GCSEs at the time and I submitted a poem for the Peace One Day competition. My poem won and was spotted by a publisher – The King’s England Press. They asked if I would write sixty poems so they could make it into an anthology and publish it. I wrote seventy. So the book that was launched in Waterstones in 2015 was ‘Seventy Beats’ (“beats” meaning heartbeats, or perhaps a nod to the Beatniks).


3. What type of books do you like to read and who are some of your favourite authors?
I love Thomas Hardy. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and ‘Jude the Obscure’ have been inspirational. Hardy’s novels are so satisfyingly tragic, so deliciously metaphorical, and perfectly entwined with the place in which they are set. I’m a big Graham Greene fan as well. Oh, and I love Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas’ poetry. As for childhood (or current guilty pleasures) nothing beats the ‘Harry Potter’ series, except maybe Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ and Herge’s ‘Tintin’… anything with a sense of adventure!


4. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
A typical writing day… well that is something I very much desire! I am currently in my final year of an English degree at Durham University, so reading the greats and trying to write about them is what occupies most of my time at the moment.


5. What projects are you working on at the moment?
As for projects, a novel is definitely in the pipeline, but again, this will happen once I have finished getting educated. Also, watch out for a TV series in a few years…
Interview Philippa Crundwell