Heather Reyes Published by Oxygen Books

May 23, 2014 | TLC Talent

We are delighted that Heather Reyes, who came to TLC with a draft of her first book Zade (‘a tender, profound, playful novel. Refreshingly experimental, and a delicious hymn to literature’ – Moniza Alvi) and again for a collection of short stories, has put her energies into transforming the collection into a novel that has now been published by Oxygen Books. Talking about her road to publication for this book, Heather says:

My novel Miranda Road grew out of a short story, ‘Dancing to Schoenberg’, published some years ago in Ambit. The characters and situation just wouldn’t leave my head, even long after it was published: Georgina Hardiman (father American, mother second generation Polish immigrant) and her daughter Eloisa (father half French, half Senegalese) clamoured for attention and for their whole story to be told. 

I tried to placate them by writing a few more short stories with this single mother and her awkward but intelligent daughter as the main characters, but this still didn’t satisfy them.

Feeling almost bullied by these two strong females living in my head, and not quite knowing what to do about it, I sent the collection of linked short stories to The Literary Consultancy for advice. The diagnosis was as I feared: ‘This is a novel trying to be born. Just get down to it.’

Easier said than done. It took many drafts to unpack all the implications buried in the snapshots of their lives represented by the short stories – a number of which played no part in the final narrative.

But now it’s done. I have given Georgina and Eloisa their novel and hope they like the way I have told their story.

Read more here.

Miranda Road is based partly in Paris, partly around a real road in Archway, immortalising N19 in the same way that Zadie Smith has written about Kilburn, and Margaret Drabble about Hampstead. Maggie Gee has called it: ‘rich, poetic, painterly, wise and tender’, Beatrice Colin has praised it for being ‘hugely readable and quietly profound.’ while award-winning French novelist Ada Ruata has compared it to Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. In a wonderful publicity initiative, Oxygen Books has invited anyone with memories of Miranda Road to send them to: You can buy the book here, or from your local independent bookshop.