Colette Coen is from Glasgow where she still lives with her husband and three kids. She graduated in 1989 from Glasgow University with an Honours Degree in English Literature and worked as a librarian and lecturer before giving it all up to work in a supermarket and concentrate on writing. She has been published widely in print and online, won the Eileen Gilmour Creative Writing Competition in 2009 and 2012 and was short-listed for the 2012 Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award. In 2010 she completed a Novel Writing Course with the Faber Academy and has recently finished her first novel All the Places I’ve Ever Been. She still receives great support from fellow Faber Academy writers and others at the G2 Writers’ Group.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh, only 5, okay, here goes: 1. Has to be The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark - she is such a wonderfully concise writer and her dark, and often comic tales really appeal to me. I'd love to emulate her style, but fear I'm some way off. The subject of this book is quite grim, but the writing is wonderful, which takes me nicely to... 2. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell - a book recommended by my book group and I was totally gripped by it. Again the writing is exceptional and so atmospheric you feel like you need to put on an extra jumper. 3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis - I never had a book out of my hand when I was wee and normally it was one of the Narnia stories. CS Lewis really knew how to take you to another world. 4. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver - hard to choose between this and The Lacuna. Again a really masterful story teller and you always feel like you come away better informed about the world. 5. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - seminal book by this amazingly gifted author. I had the pleasure of seeing her a couple of years ago at the Edinburgh Book Festival where she signed my rather old Virago copy of this novel. Loved the final chapter which puts a whole new spin on things. ~Veiled woman seemed very futuristic at the time, but like many of her books, Margaret Atwood predicts a frightening future (especially for women). Ask me tomorrow and I'll probably come up with a different five, but these are the books that spring to mind tonight.
What do you read for pleasure?
I try to keep up with the latest fiction - although it's a near impossible task. My reading lists are on Goodreads, and currently I'm reading a book by a writer from my writers' group - Paris Kiss by Maggie Ritchie. My book group always brings books I won't necessarily go to myself while the review pages and websites keep my shelves of must-reads fairly full. I'm also a sucker for news and current affairs so there's always a stack of newspapers at the side of my bed, along with short story and other writing magazines - Mslexia and Scribble. Other than that I love a codeword or two, so that keeps me up until the early hours.