Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023. Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow’s lyrical and poignant debut novel offers a deft exploration of motherhood, vulnerability and the complexity of human relationships

Sunday Forrester does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly - her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.  

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a charming couple who move in next door and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each other’s homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted as never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.  

The Booker Prize 2023
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Tinder Press
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Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

About the Author

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Kent, and has extensive personal, professional and academic experience relating to autism
More about Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Written from the perspective of an autistic mother, All the Little Bird-Hearts is a poetic debut which masterfully intertwines themes of familial love, friendship, class, prejudice and trauma with psychological acuity and wit

— The Booker Prize 2023 judges

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow on writing All the Little Bird-Hearts

I wrote All the Little Bird-Hearts over two and a half years. I did not have the luxury of writing when I felt inspired but rather wrote whenever I could, whether that was at my laptop, on my phone or in longhand. I had significant caring responsibilities during this period, and I knew there would not be fixed times available in which to write uninterrupted. It was actually a useful restriction as it disciplined me to write enthusiastically whenever there was an opportunity. The one thing I could do consistently was think about the book and arrange it in my mind. I constantly made little notes to myself, so that when there was time I had material waiting to be written up and did not simply sit and get lost in thoughts about what I might write. 

I write wherever the quietest place available is. My children would find it very amusing if I thought myself grand enough to require a working space of my own. 

Read the full interview here

All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow