Arts Emergency

Joe Dunthorne


Joe Dunthorne

I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a musician. I was in punk bands throughout school but always found myself being the one who wrote the lyrics. Eventually, when those bands fell apart (and I realised I had no sense of rhythm) I still had the urge to write. I moved from lyrics to poems to stories to novels but I never believed my writing could be anything but a hobby.

My teachers at school were supportive of my writing but the expectation was always that I would have to get a real job. My plan, then, was to be a journalist. It was only at university – studying English Literature and Creative Writing – that I met people who actually called themselves writers, who took their job seriously, whose lives were built around the stories they told. I was lucky to have a tutor at university who introduced me to his agent, and she found me a publisher, Penguin, and since then I’ve not looked back.

Writing is now my day job. I write poems, stories, novels. It’s hard work but incredibly fulfilling. If anybody wants to chat about writing or the publishing industry or being a failed musician – I’m your man.