Episode 7

Nobel prize winners and the craft of short stories with Laura Elvery

Our guest this week is an award winning writer, she has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies, her work has been published in Overland, Griffith Review, The Big Issue fiction edition and more. She has won the Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature, the Margaret River Short Story Competition, the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize and the Fair Australia Prize for Fiction. Her first book was a finalist in the Queensland Literary Awards and her second book, Ordinary Matter was published on September 1st. Ordinary Matter is a short story collection inspired by the first 20 times women won a Nobel prize in the sciences. (We're giving you an update on the 2020 winners before the interview)

Interview starts at 18 minutes.

Caitlin recommends

Enola Holmes

*Henry Cavill superfan Jack has a correction: Henry  lives on Jersey, not Gurnsey

Michelle recommends

Because of You by Dawn French

*Michelle received a copy of the audiobook from Penguin Books UK

In this interview, we chat about

  • How Laura came up with the concept for Ordinary Matter, a short story collection inspired by the 20 times women have won Nobel Prizes in the sciences, and the process of developing an idea for each story
  • The writing process for the collection (and how a grant application sparked it all)
  • The history of women and the Nobel Prize, including the great increase in female winners in the 21st Century
  • Laura’s experience in Stockholm during the week of the prize announcement
  • A small digression to discuss The Radium Girls
  • How Laura knows when to stop researching and start writing
  • Laura’s experience completing a PhD and how it made her the writer she is today
  • The experience of publishing in 2020

Books and other things mentioned

  • Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
  • Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey
  • The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Ellie Marney’s Every Series

Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraElvery

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

Caitlin and Michelle both received copies of Ordinary Matter from UQP Books. 

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.