Kit de Waal is the author of the novels MY NAME IS LEON, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, and THE TRICK TO TIME, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a short story collection, SUPPORTING CAST.
She joins us to talk about Without Warning & Only Sometimes: Scenes From An Unpredictable Childhood, a memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted, and true.
Kit grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.
Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.
This is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.