Jessica Moor studied English at Cambridge University before completing a creative writing MA at Manchester University. Her literary thriller, Keeper, is published by Viking.
Fantastic Mr Fox
The first book I ever read to myself. I would have been five and had recently claimed that I never wanted to learn to read because it was boring. I can remember exactly where I was sitting, the quality of the light. I felt the fear of Mrs Fox, the boldness of Mr Fox, the delight of the little Foxes, more intensely than I’d ever felt anything before. I read it all in one sitting; my life was changed.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
I was a third-year undergraduate, overstuffed with Spenser and Milton and all those other dull but worthy white men. The opening line of this – “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board” – cut through all the English student torpor. This book felt real and vital in a way I had forgotten. I fell in love with the characters, howled my way through the last quarter, and remembered again why I love reading.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
I read this book and decided to go and study creative writing with Jeanette Winterson at the University of Manchester, which is where I wrote Keeper. So it changed my life in a very practical way. It is a vital memoir about living, about the imperative of embracing life. I come back to it whenever I’m depressed or at a crossroads, and it’s never failed to help me move forward.
A God In Ruins
When I grow up I want to be Kate Atkinson. I want to write characters that feel like family members and novels that feel like lifetimes. I want to undertake bold literary experiments and pull them off because I’ve mastered the fundamentals of storytelling. I want to write books that leave you feeling bereaved when they end. All her books do that, but none more than A God in Ruins. It’s perfect.