Sophie Ward, the author of Love and Other Thought Experiments, talks to us after being longlisted for the 2020 prize.  

Sophie Ward on the inspiration for Love and Other Thought Experiments and what drew her to writing a love story.

Publication date and time: Published

How does it feel to have your debut novel longlisted for The Booker Prize? 

I feel amazed, grateful, and liberated. 

What inspired Love and Other Thought Experiments? 

I became fascinated by the little stories that scientists and philosophers sometimes use to explore a theory or an idea. I loved that they were a connection between the arts and sciences, and they illustrate the importance of the whole when used to investigate philosophy of mind. 

You were recently awarded a PhD from Goldsmiths on the use of narrative in philosophy of mind. How did your studies influence the writing of this novel? 

I did my research at Goldsmiths part-time while I wrote the novel, and the thesis focused on the history and development of narrative thought experiments, so they really grew together and overlapped as projects. 

The love story is perhaps the most timeless literary genre. What was it that drew you to write one, and do you feel you’ve subverted it? 

Not long ago, families like Rachel and Eliza’s would have seemed impossible. The love story in the book, for me, is the way that the connections form between all the characters, and the effect they have on each other’s lives. 

What can we expect from you next? 

I’ve just finished my second novel. I’ve had two years since finishing my first, and the idea has been with me for a while. Going through this process with my first book has made me realise that even if you go as far as your imagination takes you on the page, it is possible to find readers who will go with you. 

Sophie Ward