An Interview With Zoe Gilbert

('Rock Island'© Mike Green, 2011)



Alison MacLeod talks with Zoe Gilbert about her highly acclaimed first book, Folk, discussing bringing psychological reality to folk tales, naming characters, digging for meaning, borrowing from folklore, creating a short-story cycle, finding a publisher, engaging the reader, and creating worlds.



Zoe Gilbert’s first book, Folk, was published by Bloomsbury in 2018. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and journals worldwide, and won prizes including the Costa Short Story Award 2014. She lives in London where she teaches and mentors creative writers at London Lit Lab, as well as working on her Creative Writing PhD at the University of Chichester. You can read some of her stories at

Listen to the interview here

With thanks to The University of Chichester.




Alison MacLeod’s new story collection, all the beloved ghosts (Bloomsbury and Penguin Canada), was described by the Sunday Times as a ‘collection to savour’. The Daily Mail says: ‘If you read only one book of short stories this year, it should be this one.’ Alison’s most recent novel, Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Books), was long-listed for The 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and was one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’. The Independent described it as a ‘a novel of staggering elegance and beauty’. In 2016, she was joint recipient of The Eccles British Library Writer’s Award and is currently writing her next novel. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester and lives in Brighton.