5 Questions for Neil Ayres

Neil Ayres is the author of nearly forty published pieces of fiction, including pieces for Tate Modern and two award-winning anthologies for Elastic Press. His short novel, The New Goodbye, is available for free for the iPhone. By day he works in magazine publishing and if you want to you can find him on Twitter. Without Neil’s boundless enthusiasm and absolutely phenomenal ideas a very large part of WORDfest would never have happened.

What was the last book you read?
I’m just finishing up Charles Darwin’s autobiography (the wonders of the Kindle). It’s wouldn’t be that interesting, if it weren’t for the impact you know the man’s work has had.

Which book would you recommend to a younger version of you that hadn’t yet read it?
I don’t think it would be a specific book, but I’d tell the twelve year old me to read books in Spanish. I lived in Spain for a few years as a boy, but moved back to England before starting secondary school, and over time my grasp on the language has been mostly lost.

What was the first book you remember having a big impact on you as a child?
I think Stig of the Dump, by Clive King, about a young boy who discovers a remnant of the stone age living in his local quarry. I’ve not dared to revisit it for fear of messing with my memories of it. Rather naughtily–shh–I actually stole it. I was just turned ten and found the book in a bar where I had nothing to do. Having begun reading it I couldn’t bear to leave it behind. I still remember getting a little bit sweaty walking through the exit of the bar and out into the night. Although I’d always loved stories, that was probably my initiation into proper reading. It was a very private thing, as reading—and writing fiction—generally remain for me.

What, in your opinion, has been the single greatest technological advancement for communication of the last ten years?
The last ten years? It should have been the windup laptop (or Green Machine as the prototype was billed), or wireless electricity (http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html), but for whaterver reason neither of these has yet become widely available. But there’s lots of other stuff to choose from, right? Super fast broadband, smartphones, YouTube, Wikipedia…

Have there been any trends recently that have completely taken you by surprise or have you seen them all coming a mile off?
In relation to communications technology and the web? Well today’s announcement of the Amazon Cloud Player looks like it could shake things up for the music business. I’m looking forward to playing around with it.

Neil will be appearing on the Report, Discuss, Promote Panel at The Hawth on Wednesday April 6th.

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