What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I have the best of both worlds in Bristol; I live close to the city whilst being able to get out into the countryside quickly. Bristol has an attractive harbourside and is beside the river Avon, so I always feel like I am close to water. The city has a strong cultural hub with arts, literary events and theatre featuring strongly. It is an easy city to live in with children as there is always plenty to do.
What turns you on creatively?
General conversation and newspaper or magazine articles are my main catalysts. Even when I try to switch off, I can’t help tuning into other people’s conversations wondering if there’s a story in there that I could leave my imagination to explore. Just a word or two can be enough for a short story or a character’s back story to begin developing in my imagination. Articles are great for sparking interest in something new or something I don’t know much about. I like reading pieces that challenge my thinking, even if acknowledging the challenge can make me feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I am generally more interested in the meaning of words than how they look or sound. I love it when another language has a word that doesn’t really have a direct translation in English. Last summer, Robert Macfarlane’s word of the day was ‘Fernweh’ from the German, meaning ‘far-sickness’. The opposite of being home-sick, it describes the painful longing to be elsewhere, and the desire to travel. Once I had heard this word, I looked into the translation of other German words that might conjure up beautiful images. I stumbled upon ‘Kopfkino’; a word that translates literally as ‘head cinema’. Kopfkino describes the way that we imagine how a scenario might unfold, in either a realistic or unrealistic way. I really liked this concept and definitely have a head cinema of my own.
What is your pet peeve?
I am an organised person and hate being late. If I make a plan, I stick to it. This can be regarding how much writing I want to get done that day, the number of jobs I need to tick off my to-do list, or ensuring I honour plans with friends. I am therefore easily frustrated by last-minute changes to plans, being let down, or not accomplishing what I set out to achieve.
What defines Hannah England?
I have a fascination with understanding our world, but that is not necessarily reflected in an urge to travel or physically experience new places. I am very sociable but definitely an introvert, and don’t always find it easy to settle in new places. I find small experiences just as rewarding as big ones and like being able to reflect on what I have seen. Sometimes this comes out in my writing, and at other times I like to share my thoughts with others. My love of reading has allowed me to travel to places I have never seen, and times that I have not lived in. Often stories stay with me for a long time as if they have become part of my own memories. I do not show my emotions outwardly, but am privately quite an emotional person. I find it easy to understand how others might be feeling, and have a compulsion to say yes to all requests for help. This is both a virtue and my downfall.
Hannah England is a freelance writer living in Bristol, UK. She has two young daughters and is currently writing her first novel. She regularly blogs for The Motherload and has also written for The Guardian, the Same journal, RUNR and Our Queer Stories.