WHAT BOOK would Christy Lefteri take on a desert island?

  • Christy Lefteri has just finished reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  • Author would take Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf to a desert island
  • Christy first got the reading bug from The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy 

. . . Are you still reading?

I just finished reading The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah. It was amazing!

It is set during the Great Depression and the terrible dustbowls. It follows Elsa and her loved ones. This wonderful story of love and courage, and hope, focuses on the issues of prejudice and migration that are so relevant today.

I am currently reading the amazing books on the shortlist of Royal Society of Science Prize 2021. Every single one has enriched my mind.

I am also reading Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird Wilson. Beautiful novel about identity, love, and belonging. The story of an Indian woman who was abandoned to be adopted as a baby. I am totally gripped by Ruby’s brave search for her family and her identity.

Author Christy Lefteri (pictured), would take Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf to a desert island

Author Christy Lefteri (pictured), would take Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf to a desert island

. . . Would you go to a deserted island?

This is a tough one as there’s so many books that I’d like to take. Ideally, I’d like to have a Desert Island library.

If it must be one, . . Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I have an extremely old edition of it on the bookshelf. I get caught up in Woolf’s prose and stream of consciousness. Woolf takes you on a deep mental journey.

It’s so multi-layered that I don’t think I can ever get bored of it — how it deals with themes of loneliness, isolation and communication, how we see the effects of post-war Britain and the reality of oppression, colonialism and Empire through the characters’ beliefs and understanding of the world.

. . . What was it that first gave you the reading bug.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. I still get excited to see one of her books displayed on a bookshelf. I’m still enchanted by the lovable characters, the humour and the magic. I recently bought the collection as a gift for my boyfriend’s seven-year-old daughter.

I hope she enjoys the stories as much I did. After reading The Worst Witch, I just couldn’t stop. I can still recall the anticipation I felt every time I entered a library and bookshop. What would I find next?!

What world would I be able to enter if the pages of a book were opened?

. . . left you cold?

I think it will have to be Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. It’s been on my bookshelf for years. I have started it numerous times, but never made it past the first quarter.

I’m pretty sure I’ll try again though, so if I ever end up on a Desert Island with a library I would want it on the bookshelf.

Christy Lefteri is a judge for this year’s Royal Society Science Book Prize. The winner will be announced November 29. Her latest novel Songbirds is published by Manilla Press, £12.99.