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Rachel Joyce - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry/Perfect

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The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold fry started off as a
radio play which I was writing. I mean it must have been about
eight nine years ago which I was writing as my dad was dying. But
radio plays 45 minutes at seven and a half thousand words while book is
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eighty-some or other so yeah really
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completely different medium but the structure or something about structure
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I i definitely kept I kept in the beginning the end
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and there was a kiss said several
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central shifting points which day
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from play but this tale of a 60-something year old
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going out the door to post a letter I decide to do I'm gonna walk a little bit
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more
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and but will an end up ends up walking all the way to Berwick country
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yes was it something that you'd always knew how it would perhaps
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the story itself I always knew how it would pan out but the other than what I
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was saying earlier about bit mean related to My dad
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I didn't see it at the time has I think you often don't see why you're writing a
1:06
story you just
1:07
feel the need to write it and but
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looking back it was so obvious the a story
1:15
from me about a man who was savings somebody when my
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father was dying no missed it for the Man Booker Prize in 2012
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selected by Richard and Judy television
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program for that book club I'm are you surprised at this huge success
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and I was completely surprised me was in 22 it wasn't at all what I anticipated I
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didn't really
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mean the thing was that as I was writing the book and I'd come from this radio
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background
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and it took me a year to write in that year I didn't right
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anything else I didn't really have very much money left
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but the point the point is a better than you whether I could get to the end
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let alone whether anybody would be interested in
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at home when I mean really and that was when I saw that mean for first book
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I'd been either lucky or clever depending on how you want to look at but
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all my experiences as a writer
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paralleled hound experiences as a walk
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to this Harold walking the length England and is me trying to get to the
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end of the book
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so on the whole and how fry falters and things why am I doing this
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that was me thinking I'd I've been missin
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missus into work have possibly dudes and on days where harold goes
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it stands to reason if I pokémon book confront the other
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I'm gonna get buried in Tweed it was me thinking it stands to reason if I'm
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honest
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and I do one sentence of text okay
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then as all the published in all successive
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how crimes was hitting you
2:48
reach new readers you're working on perfect which is a completely different
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mmm and takes a snapshot
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all England in 1972
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into two boys mmm can you tell us a bit about how you were inspired to write
3:04
perfect it's funny because perfect as a story was actually around in my head
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before how
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try but I think I couldn't write perfect which is a more complicated structure
3:16
think got two times and then two time zones and I'll
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in house price in India it's a journey whereas
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perfected much more it's the sort of it so we
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when I'm it is woven think and
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I think I needed to find out how to do had to write Justin that anyway before I
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could write perfect but certainly the idea
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it's unclear came when I was an
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I we lived in London and my I got four children I had
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me at that point and my son just been born
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and I was in a traffic jam miss a second taking my
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oldest old school and
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she was tense I was ten to just with its attention trying to get it right
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and and man my
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my second order we have had breakfast or something she was upset and then Joe my
4:06
son was crying
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and I have next to me on the seat the plaintive
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competitive cakes know that you have for the school
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cake sale you know that hope it was supposed to make that cause
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I'd made and dismissal was all-new today
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and and I remember thinking I'm so tired
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I'm just stressed I felt stretch like that you know it's
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as far as I could get I thought it anything right now
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happens that isn't to do with me these children going to school
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anything I haven't accounted for I don't think I got the space
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or the imagination all the energy to deal with it
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and this is what you put into your current times the beginning a a perfect
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in a nutshell the idea behind perfect is that one
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tiny moment in time can cause
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repercussions that will take lifetime
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T to correct and
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it's set in 1972 half the book
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and and it's about to board his who are living
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perfect lives with perfect homes and have a
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perfect futures that happen and how one morning
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one small mistake
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sends everything off killed
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what I found quite refreshing in perfect
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is this wonderful description all middle-class England
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very comedic way Madden did you enjoy oh I love we're back
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hands on a how her yeah perfect life was shattered but it is actually quite
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tragic the book
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whaaaaaat yes in many ways yeah with the
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very unexpected plot twist at the end which
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we're not going to give away when we come in so well I'll I'm not personally
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I like a twist but I think a twist
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any work if when you get to it
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their egos course it was there
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but I just didn't see it on it but I mean I think life often works like that
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we don't see
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very obvious and next move is with great precision
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are you human yes I mean I'd actually people people often say I mean when I
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was writing perfect
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people friends would come up with me really unhelpful
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comments like it like writing that difficult second album I was the lead
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we made me sick what we talkin did I was just I was really happy writing pad thai
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because that's the space
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i gettin and
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to sort in make sense that things and I I am
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you know I love doing it so
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this it's the same with them the next film I'm
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in fact I'm writing to but there's but this one that I'm writing more pressing
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need in the other
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and but I'm writing one about music
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because I know people the right actually the listening to
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the giving of it and this was a gifted it but it is partly because I love
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describing land and sky
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and I wanted to challenge myself to do the same with
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music but thats
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going a little bit on hold because the other book that I'm writing
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is and the book that accompanies held
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try which I had I'd always intended to do but I didn't know when I would be
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ready for it
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and because has been thinking about my dad
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an its it's much more related to my father in the it's cooled
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when I say that I can you know what it's about it's called the love song
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ok miss Queenie Hennessy so it's always nice is
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against its it's about Queen the story and how she came to be
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where he is and what it was she did how
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from I'm and this is going carried to the Harold walks to
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to complete this is yes and invite in the book I've given myself a tiny little
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opening into it if I wanted it in one chapter
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right towards the end in Queens from Queens point to being
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so I thought I played it there is a little stern
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if I want to come back and pick it up I'm pretty sleepy
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look forward to it compassion Harold fry
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yes yes I don't know when but
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eighties in the script is in development
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even and not by me that's great you think that's great
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I think it's really good actually I think it's really helping crystal Marie
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somebody else comes in posted
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right for some very much look forward to reading a book music which happened to
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be inside
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yet one it hasn't hit and screen the story
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thank you very much thank you very much

Rachel Joyce talks about the unexpected success of her first novel  "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" and how the death of her father inspired her to keep writing. She also tells Nicola Barranger about her latest book "Perfect" - the story of two little boys in the 1972 who are leading perfect lives until one morning, one tiny incident changes everything.  Video filmed at the Guildford Book Festival 2103

 

Rachel Joyce SM

Perfect