Maddie Mortimer: 'When I read the final 20 pages to my dad and sister, we all cried'
The author of Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies talks about the playfulness of poetry, reading her mother’s diaries and finding inspiration in movies
Maddie Mortimer was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2022. She was born in London in 1996 to a family of writers: both her mother and her maternal grandfather were also authors.
Mortimer received her BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol. Her writing has featured in the Times and her short films have screened at festivals around the world. She is co-writing a TV series currently in development with Various Artists Ltd. In 2019, she completed the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course.
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is her first novel, some of which was written - between shifts in a vintage clothing outlet - in the Foyles bookshop cafe in London. Foyles commissioned Mortimer to write a personal blog about her work, in which she says:
‘I like to think of written words as the corners and nooks where the light won’t go. It’s why blank pages are so astonishing.’
Deliriously inventive and viscerally moving, Mortimer’s debut is a patterned, protean narrative that astonishes and overwhelms. Lia is dying while she’s living, her past, present and future a glorious cacophony of voices, from the webs of words that bind her to her daughter, to the mutating cancer that is an inexorable part of her self.— The 2022 judges on Maps of our Spectacular Bodies