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Books That Changed Me; Jessica Moor

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

Roald Dahl

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.

Jessica Moor read Jeanette Winterson's memoir and was prompted to go and study with her.

Jessica Moor read Jeanette Winterson’s memoir and was prompted to go and study with her. Credit:Justine Stoddart

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?

Jeanette Winterson

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

Kate Atkinson

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.

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