Naomi Wood on the difference between serious and casual relationships with books

12 December 2012

Naomi Wood is the author of The Godless Boysa novel about an alternative England, where the Church controls the country and non-believers have been exiled to a remote island. On the Island, a fierce group of boys patrols the community, searching for signs of faith and punishing any believers. When a new girl appears the gang is split: one boy falls in love with her, another seeks violent revenge. The struggle between them will change everything.


What is your favourite book of the year?

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. A cross between the toughness of A Farewell to Arms and the lyricism of The English Patient. It was wonderful.

What is your favourite Picador book ever?

I love John Banville’s The Sea and have read it maybe five times.  

2012: everything else

What was your favourite cultural event of the year?

Skipping up to Oxford on the last day of the exhibition to see Jenny Saville’s fleshy body planets at her MOMA retrospective. 

Who is your hero of the year?

The people of the Eccles Centre at the British Library, who saved me from a penurious year.

Who is your favourite tweeter?

Rob Delaney dropping c-bombs and f-bombs all over twitter. Absolutely unrepeatable filth. 

What was the best movie?

The Master. Wow. 

What was the best song/album?

Poli├ža – weird spacey Minneapolis synth. 

Give us one Prediction for 2013?

The economy is going to spring from its sickbed. Optimism will replace austerity. Hemlines will go up. As shall foodprices. 

Becoming and being a writer

What would you be if you weren’t a writer?

This sounds completely odd but I think I’d make a happy accountant. I worked as a Finance Assistant for The Poetry Society and I liked working ‘on grid’. There’s a beauty to algorithms and boxable equations and as long as you avoid “REF!!!###” you know if you’re doing it well or badly. It has a covetable clarity to it that the writing process lacks. 

What was your favourite book as a child?

Where the Wild Things Are. Read to me and my sister by my dad in our home in York. 

What is the book you recommend most?

Anna Karenina

What is your favourite poem?

This year I discovered the Atlantis poems by Mark Doty. They’re exquisite and so sad. 

Can you give one piece of advice to people wanting to become a writer?

Make up fake quotes from people you love and stick them above your desk for moments of lofty inspiration during the low times, i.e. ‘Naomi’s new book is a tour de force’ Kazuo Ishiguro, Observer

Do you read on paper or ebook?

Paper for authors I love. Ebooks for more casual relationships. 

Your worst ever job?

Rolling the autocue for a morning news show from 7-9.30a.m. for three months. 




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