Catrina Davies longlist author interview
14 October 2019
We all have a tale about housing. It’s one of the most complex issues in the UK today, constantly fought over, fought for and failing. It’s personal and political, affecting the economy and our votes, our families and our health. Yet there are few books which grasp all the sides of this story. That’s what’s remarkable about Homesick.
Aged thirty-one, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart.
Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own.
With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world.
This is the story of a personal housing crisis and a country-wide one, grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature. It shows how housing can trap us or set us free, and what it means to feel at home.
Catrina Davies was born in Snowdonia and grew up around Land’s End, Cornwall. She has worked as a DJ, gardener, circus cellist, cleaner, TEFL teacher, dog walker, flower-picker, builder and waitress. She has also released two records. Her first book The Ribbons are for Fearlessness is a memoir about busking from Norway to Portugal. Homesick is her second book.
Chris van Tulleken