Five minutes with: Kirsty Capes

Author Kirsty Capes

Meet Kirsty Capes, author of the Women’s Prize 2022 longlisted novel Careless. After reading the novel, The Guardian reviewer said ‘Capes is a rare new talent, and she has written something very special here: a novel that transforms, with the lightest of touches.’

A light touch on a highly sensitive subject is very special skill. We grabbed a quick five minutes with Kirsty to talk about the book and her inspiration.

Kirsty Capes:

Describe in three words how it feels to be longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Unreal, life-affirming, electrifying.

What inspired you to write Careless?

I grew up in foster care, and I found that there weren’t many books out there that told a story that felt true to my experience. I wanted to write something that felt honest and representative of the care system as I knew it and experienced it. I wanted to write a story about care that was hopeful and aspirational and realistic, rather than focusing on the negatives. I wanted to tell a love story between two best friends.  

Can you describe Careless in one sentence?

Bess, a fifteen-year-old girl growing up in foster care in the suburbs, falls pregnant, and must decide what to do next.

Are there any locations that have a special connection for the book?

Yes, Shepperton, which is where I grew up and where the book is set.  

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

I wrote a fantasy short story in school about a copper chessboard with magical properties. I also had a blogspot as a teenager which was full of (very bad, emo) poetry. I kept a diary as a teenager where I got some of the inspiration for Bess’s voice in Careless.  

Why did you become a writer?

I feel as though writing is the medium where I have the most potency, and where I can be truly emotionally honest with myself and with others.  

Have you read the Women’s Prize 2022 longlist?

Inspired to write your own? Take a look at our Discoveries page where you could submit your very first novel in September!

The Women's Prize Podcast

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