Friday, 13 January 2017

Triskele Author Feature - Catriona Troth

Once in a while, we like to remind ourselves of why we're an author collective. Five individuals in three countries bound by a love of writing. People often ask how it works, but rarely why.

Here's the second in our Author Feature series, on why we appreciate Catriona Troth.

Author, editor and litfest organiser, Catriona excels as a connector of writers. She is the powerhouse behind our Indie Author Fairs and last year's Triskele LitFest. With her novella Gift of the Raven and her epic opus, Ghost Town, Catriona proves she can not only transport you to another time and place, but she makes you think.

What Amanda Hodgkinson says about Catriona

Catriona is the perfect kind of writer; the kind whose head is filled with vast libraries of stories, and for whom a deep love of words and form and a desire to communicate is a lifelong quest. The kind of writer who always has a great respect for her readers. That's just one of the reasons why her novels are so beautiful and absorbing. Catriona is the perfect kind of writer for other writers too, helping and supporting them, offering them her time, enthusiasm and her talents, all in the hope of bringing great books to new readers.

What makes Kat such a valued member of Triskele Books?

Liza Perrat: Catriona’s skill as a structural editor has been highly beneficial to the storylines of my own novels. Her drive for perfection, and her motivation to edit, edit and edit again, have brought her own books up to the highest narrative standard. And her skills as events’ organizer have been invaluable for all of our Triskele literary festivals. 

Jane Dixon Smith: Catriona's sympathies and understanding of the time and society in which her novel Ghost Town and novella Gift of the Raven are set is what gives them a special and honest feel, making them so compelling.

JJ Marsh: Triskele and the concept of an author collective arose from a conversation Kat and I had in 2009. Gilly, Liza and I made it a reality in 2011, and when Kat was ready to publish, it was only natural for her to join the team. She's an exceptional editor, a terrific networker whose aim is to help other writers, and most importantly, a brilliant writer. She tackles tough subjects in her work, remaining clear-eyed and unsentimental while delivering enormous emotional impact. Her books are impossible to forget.

Gillian Hamer: There's something about Kat in real life that comes across both in her writing as well as in her editorial work - and for me that is understanding. She has an eye for detail and a human empathy that are great talents to posses in both fields. I rely on her input in each of books, knowing she will see something others don't. And that's what makes her own writing so special too. She writes about things others do not see, it's a special talent in a writer and makes her style her own.

What They Say About Ghost Town

“There is a subtle blend of realism and pragmatism which allows the story to evolve in such a way that despite its subject matter, it never becomes distasteful or inflammatory. There is clever use of colourful street vocabulary which is dotted throughout the text; from South Asian Punjabi, through to Rasta slang, words which imply meaning without always needing to refer to the exemplary glossary. In Ghost Town, the whole vista of the 1980s is captured like a snapshot; a moment of time which embodies a culture one hopes is relegated to history books but which perhaps sadly lingers, alive in memory.” - Jaffa Reads Too

“The city comes alive almost as a character itself. Also the time - early 80s - is evoked so well it brought back vivid memories of songs, of movements, of clothes, of the political spectrum.
Ms Troth has a terrific ear for voices and accents; her characters come fully formed off the page by the sheer virtuosity of her ventriloquism.” - Barbara Scott-Emmett

“It's hard to liken GHOST TOWN to anything else out there, but there were certainly echoes of Alex Wheatle's EAST OF ACRE LANE. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to step out of their comfort zone and explore a little-talked-about pocket of British history.” - Polly Courtney

"Ghost Town is a fascinating exploration of the Coventry riots of 1981 and the events leading to them. Catriona Troth handles her material with a subtle touch and doesn’t flinch from showing the tensions and conflicts within communities and families as well as those outside. Ghost Town works as both a vivid record of a recent historical event and as a cracking good read." - Chris Curran

There’s a pleasurably subtle, gently restless, level-toned yet unsparing quality to many aspects of "Ghost Town", including these ones: the elusive nature of Maia, a reliable narratorial lens and yet a full individual with her own dramas too, whose open innocence manages to remain unsullied by seeing such ugliness and suffering around her; the novel’s smooth inclusion of quite a breadth of facts, terminology and historical detail (including several vivid trips out of Coventry, down to riot-torn Brixton); its successful ambitiousness in being at once a political story, a love story and a coming-of-age story." - Rohan Quine

"This book is challenging on several levels. Sometimes an uncomfortable read, it demonstrates the vital role of fiction in tackling serious issues, such as the threat that is perceived when the demographics of a city change rapidly, particularly at a time of high unemployment." - JE Davis

"Ms Troth has most admirably captured the atmosphere of urban decay, race riots, unemployment and the ever simmering violence of an era I well remember. The characters are well drawn and credible and the storyline most compelling." - Amazon reviewer

What They Say About Gift of the Raven

"The emotions entwined in this story are what really brings it to life. The author makes it very easy to see through the eyes of young Terry, and feel the pain and struggling he must endure. Mix this with the well-described Canadian cultures and history, and the novella becomes incredibly thought-provoking."

"I was enchanted by this novella about a boy searching for his roots and identity. The descriptions of landscapes are beautiful and the writing is lyrical and powerful. Reading this, I was reminded of Louise Erdrich's writing style and ability to create character and history within landscapes. An absolute pleasure to read. Moving and tender."

"A beautifully-written novella that explores the troubled childhood of Terry, and his journey to find his roots with the Haida Gwaii Indians of Canada. As well as Terry's heart-warming story, and the author's lyrical prose that brought these parts of Canada to life, I really enjoyed learning about a culture of which I previously knew nothing."

"This is a truly wonderful story and one which you won't forget in a hurry. It is skilfully written, the characters are full of depth and the scene beautifully set."

Here's Catriona talking about Triskele Books and how it works.

In addition to writing fiction, festival organisation, journalism and reviewing, Catriona is a well-respected editor.

Find out more or make contact here:

Twitter: @L1bCat

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