Salena Godden & Maaza Mengiste
Books and Debate


22 May 2021
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Authors Salena Godden, Maaza Mengiste & Evie Wyld discuss their books, and how background characters can shape narratives in unpredictable ways

There are times in a film when the supporting actor steals the show, as Whoopi Goldberg did in the cult classic Ghost. Intended to remain in the background, they edge centre stage, shaping the narrative in unpredictable ways. In these three novels – Salena Godden's Mrs Death Misses Death, Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King and Evie Wyld's Bass Rock – figures that are usually meant to be peripheral through denial, absence, erasure or pretence, haunt the narrative and invigorate already complex stories with unexpected twists and tensions. Whether based on historic events or imagined spaces, these spectres are proof of the power of psychology in making stories tick.

Salena Godden

Maaza Mengiste

Evie Wyld

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