Becky Danks is a creative writer and book reviewer based in London. She has previously organised a UK and Ireland-wide charity writing competition and loves to discover exciting new voices.
She reviews for independent publishers and has won City Writes for her own short story, The Anniversary. She writes across mediums as a hobby and her first play was performed in February. Her current project, a children’s book, was recently longlisted for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Undiscovered Voices 2020.
Which writers or poets inspire you and why?
Sally Shakti-Willow. Sally is a poet and researcher of utopian poetics. It is thanks to her encouragement that I got into book reviewing and since lockdown started, her online journaling workshops have helped me to focus creatively in my spare time.
Maggie O’Farrell. I recently re-read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox after ten years for my work’s book club and it remains one of my favourite novels. Her writing is simultaneously challenging and commercially accessible.
Donatella Di Pietrantonio. I had the pleasure of interviewing her remotely and would love to meet her in person. She writes about women in Italy facing challenging circumstances such as dementia in the family.
Charles Dickens. He was very much a Victorian-era social critic highlighting issues such as the mistreatment of the poor. I would love to hear his opinions on modern Britain. I think we’d have a lot to talk about!
What advice would you give your younger writing self?
Believe in yourself. And always be grateful. That’s the secret!
Are you a library lover, a bookshop bird or an online owl?
I’m a library lover because they do so much for communities. I strongly believe that literature should be freely accessible and not exclusive. My home city of Birmingham has the largest library in the UK which is amazing. I look forward to visiting the British Library again when times are different as they do fantastic events. I got to recite from Jane Eyre once for a special recording to commemorate the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth and even met Sir Trevor McDonald there on World Book Night.
Where and when do you do most of your reading?
I like to take a book and a cup of coffee to the park on weekends or after work and sit on a bench with my dog. It was certainly atmospheric reading Day of the Triffids in the wildlife meadow! My dog sometimes interrupts when she spots a squirrel and goes mad so the next best place for me is in bed.