(UK, 1990) is a fiction writer and occasional playwright with a Master in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2019. She was commended in the Moth Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award 2018, and won the White Review short story prize 2018. Her first book, salt slow, is a collection of short stories about bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of its characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession and love. She won the Pushcart Prize in 2020. Our Wives Under the Sea (2022) is Julia's debut novel: a story of two women falling in love, loss, grief and what life there is in the deep blue sea.(2022)
Archive available for: Julia Armfield
Summer 2022 two beautiful and strong debut novels were published: Julia Armfield's Our Wives Under the Sea ('the year's most terrifying love story' says AnOther Mag) and Nikki Dekker's diepdiepblauw. Both books describe mysterious sea creatures and the complexities of queer relationships between young women. diepdiepblauw is shortlisted for the Bronzen Uil (Bronze Owl) 2022 for best Dutch-language debut.
Writers Unlimited brought together these two talented young authors with a fascination for oceans and queerness! Lisa Weeda interviewed them in Writers Series on Thursday evening 24 November 2022 in Zaal 3, The Hague about, among other things, the attraction of the sea and about writing lesbian or bisexual love stories.
Where does these young authors' interest in marine life come from, and why do they express this fascination in a wonderful combination of narrative fiction, nature book and essay?
Writer and radio producer Nikki Dekker (1989) released her debut novel diepdiepblauw (Deep Deep Blue) in Summer 2022, a powerful debut novel about identity, shell collecting, growing up and bisexual infatuation, interspersed with fiction and facts about life underwater. In Dutch weekly news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, when asked what the most enjoyable moment was while writing her novel, she replied: 'For the chapter on dolphins, I watched the documentary The Dolphin House. In it, Margaret Howe tries to teach dolphins to talk with their blowhole. You see her sitting at the edge of the pool, wearing black lipstick so that her own mouth looks like a blowhole, shouting words at that dolphin. That's just absurd.'
British author Julia Armfield (1990) published in 2022 her debut novel Our Wives Under the Sea. In the book, a deep-sea explorer gets stuck in a submarine at the bottom of the sea for longer than planned and returns "changed" to her wife.
The book has been all over Booktok, TikTok and Instagram for a while now, surprising (especially young) readers with its plot and genre: 'queer horror' and 'gothic' are terms that often come up.
Last year, Lisa Weeda, author and literary programme maker, published her debut novel Aleksandra, an impressive family story set in her grandmother's motherland, Ukraine. Aleksandra and diepdiepblauw are both shortlisted for the 2022 Bronzen Uil Award. In 2018, she was moderator of the Winternachten festival conversations with writers Nino Haratischwili and Alain Mabanckou.
The Bronzen Uil Award 2022, the prize for the best Dutch-language Debut will be handed out 10 December 2022.
This Writers Series programme is in English.
Book sale and signing in the foyer of Zaal 3: De Vries Van Stockum Boeken
Programme curated by: Joëlle Koorneef (Writers Unlimited).
Writers Series: Julia Armfield and Nikki Dekker in conversation with Lisa Weeda
Thursday 24 November 2022, 20:30-22:00 hours
Zaal 3, De Constant Rebecqueplein 20A, Den Haag