Fiona Melrose  image: Taryn Millar

About the author

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Fiona came to writing relatively late, having had various careers in academia and political analysis for NGO's and the private sector. She has spent much of her adult like in the UK, London and Suffolk in particular and continues to keep a foot in both continents. She is currently writing her third novel.

She is represented by Jo Unwin at Jo Unwin Literary Agency.


FICTION: The Waves, Virginia Woolf and House of Names, Colm Toibin.

POETRY: Czeslaw Milosz, New and Collected Poems (Pengiun)

NON-FICTION: Khwezi, Redi Tlhapi

Themes in two books I am currently reading are strikingly and painfully similar. The advent of intense and violent personal betrayal in both Toibin's The House of Names and in my non-fiction choice, Khwezi by Redi Tlhapi are almost to terrible to contemplate. In Toibin, Agamemnon betrays his family, his daughter and wife, Clytemnestra, in particular by ordering the sacrifice of his daughter, having led her to believe it was her wedding day. The sacrifice of a daughter, in this case the daughter of a nation by its own President is the true story of the woman "Khwezi" (her witness name) who accused President Zuma of South Africa of rape. She was then betrayed by the democracy her own father had given his life to ensure during the anti-Apartheid struggle. She was hounded and hunted, her home burned and her life in real danger to a point where she was forced into exile in Holland. She returned but died in 2016. This has left me thinking about the ways in which daughters are betrayed with such ease and such violence to suit a man's whims. The intimacy of the violence in both these books has left me very troubled. Visceral and important to read.

The work on my third book is leading my reading to interesting places and as usual never where I anticipate. I am enjoying working with words that are non-habitual to my normal usage and have been surprised by the impressive violence of some of the images this writing has produced. I  have a first draft but hope to complete a much richer and more emotionally and symbolically populated version by the end of the year.