Venetia Welby is a writer and novelist to watch. She has always aspired to be a writer from as far back as she can remember; written stories with a horrifying imagination, a rolling insomnia and a proclivity for strange adventures and people. Conspired to make this recurring dream a reality and arrange everything else to fit in with it.
In practice, she says: ‘This meant pursuing freelance jobs such as editing, copywriting and tutoring which kept me learning new things but allowed me, and even required me, to travel and write as well. Tutoring in particular threw me into bizarre places, such as teaching Philosophy A-level in a desert rehab centre in Arizona, or English on the beach at Lamu alongside ex-pat hippies and Somali pirates, or camping in a bedsit in Beijing, teaching Chinese boys en route to Harrow about the British.
‘It was moving home to London, though, that was formative in the writing of my debut novel, Mother of Darkness. I spent a lot of time in Soho, watching the culture shift as this historic and irreverent district, the soul of London, became increasingly sterile and I decided to set my novel amongst its cranes and bulldozers looking back to happier times.’
Venetia is a writer of quality, meticulous in her research and has the capacity and courage to tackle debauchery and the frailties of human nature in a way that the faint-hearted reader will find rather shockingly unpalatable, yet bereft of the hypocrisy of some elements of the established order in a cover-up society. Her novel, notwithstanding its qualities, is certainly ahead of its time. It is beautifully written, thought-provoking and leaves the reader clamouring for more pages to devour.
For those of us who are curious to know more about Venetia, they now have the opportunity to meet her on Thursday 15 June at 7pm. at the Brick Lane Bookshop, 166 Brick Lane E1 GRU.
They will be charmed as well as able to purchase a copy of her book at the same time. She is a novelist to be reckoned with.