Congratulations on making the shortlist. Tell us a bit
about your book.
Thank you. I am absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted.
Ey Up And Away! is a book about growing up as a working class
kid in Nuneaton during the 1950's and 60's. Kind of like 'Stand By
Me' meets The Royle Family. It's set in the days when your father
wouldn't have been arrested or put on Jeremy Kyle for giving you a
drag of a fag behind the shed; when Sunday School was considered
free childcare for your parents; when every last scrap of food on
your plate must be eaten or you would still be sitting there a week
next Tuesday. When it was....you know, the good old days!
When and why did you decide to write the
I actually started to write the stories a few years ago. I was
very ill and I was stuck in bed unable to do much but think. I was
recollecting my childhood and remembering all the funny family
stories. I began to commit them to paper. Doing this kept me from
getting too down in the dumps about losing the very active life I
had led before becoming ill. Eventually, I did a few readings with
some of the stories and people seemed to find them funny. I
continued to write more stories and a book eventually emerged.
What does the title refer to?
I grew up watching The Lone Ranger on television in the 1950's.
He had a catchphrase.
While departing on his white stallion, Silver, the Lone Ranger
would shout, "Hi-yo, Silver! Away! All kids born in the 40's and
50's will remember that. I coupled that with 'Ey Up! which is a
Midlands thing. It encapsulated all my tomboy childhood
Tell us about the editing process. How did you choose
which stories to tell and which to leave out?
Oh, that's easy, I put 'em all in! I actually edited very
little. My challenge was to make the dialogue be as funny as the
dialogue I was hearing in my head as I wrote. My family were
wonderful storytellers…..they still are! I hope I do them justice
in the book.
Are you a fan of reading memoirs/autobiography yourself?
Who are some writers in a similar genre to yourself who you admire
and what do you like about their work?
Funnily enough, I almost never read memoirs or autobiography. As
I mentioned before I loved the writing of Caroline Aherne, Craig
Cash and Henry Normal in The Royle Family. I thought they wrote
with great acuity about a working class family's life. The
characters were very familiar to me.
I have a great fondness for American writers, such as Louise
Erdrich, Elizabeth Strout, Charles Frazier, Ann Tyler, the odd bit
of Philip Roth.
I am also a passionate fan of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin
Series. They are naval historical fiction, set during the
Napoleonic Wars. There are twenty books in the series and I have
been constantly reading them since 1993. I always have one on the
go! You have to be an O'Brian fan to understand that kind of weird
Hmm, maybe its time to go on Mastermind?
This was your first book. Any plans to write
I'm working on a novel called The Glove Maker. It's completely
different to Ey Up And Away! It's set in Minnesota in the 1930's
and it's about a group of characters, one of whom is a dog, who are
brought together by a catastrophic event. It's brutal and sad, and
I love it….. especially the dog.
What are you working on now?
Recently, I've worked with performance artist, Stacy Makishi, on
an audio walk called 'And The Stars Down So Close', which was
inspired by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. There's also a
forthcoming book published by University of Michigan Press, called
Animal Acts: Performing Species Today. Stacy and I wrote something
called, STAY! that has been included in a volume of performance
themed scripts with commentaries by scholars / theorists from the
fields of animal and performance studies. Sounds a bit wild and
born free, huh?
What would you do with the £1000 if you win the
I would buy a giant bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. The kind you
buy at airports and at Christmas….the kind that you could beat
someone to death with. I would eat it all myself.
Ey Up And Away by Vicky Ryder (Wandering Star Press)
has been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. The winner
will be announced 26th November.
Ey Up And Away is available to buy on Amazon here and from vickyryder.co.uk
For more information on the Polari First Book Prize, visit Facebook