Rachel Joyce started writing young: ‘I wrote my autobiography when I was eight,’ she says, ‘because I was worried my writing talents had gone unnoticed. (I was right. They had.)’
Her route to fiction took in short stints as a nanny, a door to door sales person (‘I lasted a morning’), an assistant in a souvenir shop, and a barmaid in a London champagne bar where she refused to serve champagne, only beer, ‘for political reasons’. She then went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and spent 20 years as an actress before writing her first play for radio. Her first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was written when she was 50. She currently writes in a shepherd’s hut near the Gloucestershire valley where Laurie Lee was born.