U.K. writer Rachel Joyce's pilgrimage with Harold Fry
Posted: Oct 9, 2012 1:56 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 9, 2012 1:55 PM ET
For British writer Rachel Joyce, it was a “leap of faith” to begin writing a novel at age 48 after more than 17 years of penning radio plays.
Now, however, her book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has become an international sensation, landing on the Man Booker Prize long list and marking her as a writer to watch.
Now a mother of four, she has written for radio since she was pregnant with her first child and left behind a successful acting career that had taken her to Stratford-on-Avon.
In an interview with The Sunday Edition's Michael Enright, Joyce said her family missed the income from her radio writing while she penned her novel, but she had an important pilgrimage to make herself: through the territory of loss and redemption.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry actually began as a radio play, Joyce acknowledged.
“What was different about it as a radio play was that I dedicated it to my Dad. I did this because he had just told me that he was dying of cancer and I wanted to sort of run away and write something very secret that was a life-affirming story because I was losing someone that I very much wanted to keep,” she said.
Harold Fry is an unremarkable man who responds to a letter from a dying friend by beginning a pilgrimage on foot from the south of Britain to the north. His journey draws the eyes of the media, but is essentially an attempt to work through the losses of his own life.
“For me, I think that it was that when you’re on your feet, when you get away from your house and your stuff, then you can think. I think you can think in a very stripped-back way,” Joyce said.
The pilgrimage is a form of meditation for her character, she said, adding that he has elements of her own father, now deceased.
“There is something about that English generation who found it difficult to express their feelings — that’s an area that really interests me,” she said.
Joyce spoke to The Sunday Edition from a studio near her home, a farm in Gloucester, U.K.
- Jedward on the MMVA red carpet by Laura Thompson Jun. 17, 2013 12:48 PM Cheerful pop duo Jedward had much to say to CBC News on the red carpet Sunday night at the Much Music Video Awards in Toronto. A lot of their excitement came from seeing Avril Lavigne, complete with spiky hairband. Check out the Irish twins in this video clip.
Top News Headlines
- World's displaced people at 18-year high of 45.2 million
- The Syrian civil war contributed to push the numbers of refugees and those displaced by conflict within their own nation to an 18-year high of 45.2 million worldwide by the end of 2012, the UN refugee agency says. more »
- Who's who in the Senate expense controversy
- Keeping track of the names popping up in the ongoing Senate expenses controversy — from the investigators to the four senators themselves — could be a difficult task for even the most seasoned political observers. more »
- Mixed reviews for Ottawa's new 'open data' website
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement is touting the federal government's revamped data portal as a "new natural resource." But that online window for previously published data arrives at the same time the government faces controversy over just how open it really is. more »
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- As electronic or e-cigarettes grow in popularity, some health advocates want them to be regulated. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Stunt woman's phone hacked to overhear Angelina Jolie
- A woman who worked as a stunt double for Angelina Jolie sued Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in Los Angeles on Tuesday, claiming she's a victim of a phone hacking scheme to obtain information about the actress. more »
- Crazy Rich Asians: an interview with author Kevin Kwan
- In his debut novel, Manhattan-based Kevin Kwan returns to the moneyed Asian enclaves of his youth to satirize an outlandish, fantastical world of wealth. more »
- Goon's Jay Baruchel, Michael Dowse honoured for hockey comedy
- Actor Jay Baruchel accepted kudos for his work behind the camera on his hockey comedy Goon on Tuesday, with the avid Montreal Canadiens fan awarded Telefilm's Golden Box Office prize at the Hockey Hall of Fame. more »
- Justin Bieber's car strikes pedestrian, but no charge laid
- Los Angeles police say Justin Bieber struck a pedestrian with his car in Hollywood, but there was no crime and the injuries aren't life-threatening. more »
- The National performs live in studio Q Jun. 18, 2013 1:16 PM The indie rock giants play songs from their acclaimed sixth studio record, "Trouble Will Find Me".
- Michael Pollan: 'We watch people cook on TV more than we cook ourselves' Jun. 18, 2013 4:51 PM Food writer Michael Pollan chronicles his pilgrimages to people who are keeping culinary traditions alive in his new book Cooked.
- 2 men jailed in Dominican wedding fight return to Canada
- Police probe death of woman, 27, in Kelowna home
- Hundreds attend 'Change Brazil' protest in Vancouver
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- MPs pass NDP motion on expenses, adjourn for summer
- Huge ancient city at Angkor Wat revealed by lasers
- Parents of son 'brutally beaten' playing hockey want charges
- Most groups don't want return of Trudeau speaking fees
- Montreal mayor resigns amid corruption charges