Literary influences explored...

Hilary Woods has always used music as a means to explore her life and feelings.

Songwriting utilised as a process of dipping deeper into her inner life, charting her various chapters and developments.

Out now, new album 'Birthmarks' was written during the winter of 2019, flitting between Galway and Oslo while heavily pregnant.

A remarkable achievement, Hilary Woods frequently turned to her bookshelf for inspiration.

The perfect candidate for Their Library, then...

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What other authors do you like?

I like loads; Daphne du Maurier, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Arundhati Roy, Fernando Pessoa, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sally Rooney, Elizabeth Smart, Elena Ferrante, John O’Donoghue, Eileen Myles.. to name a few.

What draws you to certain books?

How they’re written, their humour, sensibility, their economy, pictures.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?

I’d say everything in my lived experience has in some sense an impact overtly or not on why I’m drawn to writing songs/ making tracks, and what it is I want to confront / work through in doing so.

Literature always helps me clarify / get a better grasp of what it is I’m interested in exploring through music.

What are you reading at the moment?

I am reading a guide book to aromatherapy, another book On Walking, Boethius’ The Consolation Of Philosophy, Emilie Pine’s Notes To Self and some essays by Doris Lessing.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?

Some fantasy book on underwater life following a magical mermaid ashore at midnight and illustrations of sea creatures with very long names. I borrowed it from the local library and have never remembered the title, but somehow its content stuck.

Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn't finish?

Loads. Kierkegaard’s Sickness Unto Death, Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, the Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying to name a few.

Would you ever re-read the same book?

Yes, I have a tendency to do that, a lot!

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?

I identify with different characters all the time, there’s not one particular one I can pinpoint. I’d say characterisation is the main thing that draws me to a book/ makes me return to certain books.

Margaret Atwood’s Elaine in Cats Eye, Thomas Hardy’s Tess in Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Hannah Kent’s women in Burial Rites all stick out, and easy for me to identify with whether that be for the way they communicate, their challenges, their defiance, the desire they express for connection or their appetite for life/ to live freely in general.

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'Birthmarks' is out now.

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