In 1987, aged 22, Alison MacLeod moved from her native Canada to England, supposedly for one year to read for an MA. The moved has proved rather more permanent: she is still here.

Unexplored is set during the Second World War but was inspired by the ‘haunted atmosphere in London the day after the 2005 bombings’. Brighton, MacLeod’s English home, features large in the novel, not least because she discovered ‘there had been a rumour, apparently started on German radio, that Hitler would make the Brighton Pavilion his English HQ’. When asked for her favourite opening line in literature, MacLeod chose Toni Morrison’s Beloved: ‘124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom’ – referring to the protagonists’ house 124 Bluestone Road.

Alison Macleod

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