Kate Tough & Emma Jane Unsworth set for joint appearance at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

This article is from 2014

Kate Tough & Emma Jane Unsworth set for joint appearance at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Photo: Darren Hall

Young female authors talk about the trials and tribulations of 21st century life

Her book has been compared to everything from Withnail and I to Girls, but Emma Jane Unsworth isn't letting the success of her second novel Animals go to her head. After living in Manchester, where most of her work to date has been set, Unsworth has moved to London for a year to see what she can write when she's out of her comfort zone. Saying that she enjoys the anonymity but feels a little lonely, she's delighted to be teaming up with Kate Tough, author of Head for the Edge, Keep Walking, at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival and together they’ll discuss the trials and tribulations of being a young woman in the 21st century.

Unsworth's first novel, Hungry, the Stars and Everything, won a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award and Animals has been received with just as much enthusiasm. 'The reviews have been lovely, but the best thing is when individual girls get in touch because it's connected with them,' she says. The story of a young woman torn between her hedonistic, bohemian life and a sensible existence with her staid fiancé Jim, Animals is a madcap, drug-fuelled caper. But the heart of the novel is the pressure that narrator Laura is under to change her life, her ambitions and her personality, to become what society considers a respectable adult. 

'It makes me really angry', Unsworth says, 'and I don't know where this pressure comes from. In the novel it comes from Jim, her friends and her parents but really, when you're a woman in your 30s it comes from all over the show and I resent it, I resist it.'

Luckily, it doesn't sound like Unsworth will be buckling under pressure any time soon.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 11 Aug, 8.30pm, £7 (£5).

Kate Tough & Emma Jane Unsworth

Kate Tough’s debut novel, Head For The Edge, Keep Walking introduces us to Jill, struggling to recover from a life-changing trauma. Dubbed a ‘drunker, swearier Girls,’ Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals is the book Caitlin Moran says she wishes she had written, featuring the filthy yet funny friendship of Laura and Tyler. Both…