Zoe Norton Lodge is a writer, actor and television presenter, known for her work on ABC TV's The Checkout. She is the author of a collection of stories, Almost Sincerely (Giramondo). Her first children's novel, Elizabella Meets Her Match, is published by Walker Books.
MY BRILLIANT CAREER
Zoe Norton Lodge says she loved all Roald Dahl’s books.
As a young girl who desperately wanted to be a writer, reading a book about a young girl who desperately wants to be a writer written by a young girl who has pulled it off gave me life. Throw in the tough rural backdrop, the family dramas and strong themes of career over men – this book was everything teenage Zoe needed.
UNDER MILK WOOD
My dad, deeply proud Welshman, gave me this borderline-national bible to read when I was in early high school. The humour and poeticism resonated so deeply with me that I gained a powerful sense of connection with this place I was from that I didn't really know. As a budding writer I was fascinated by the experimentation with language, the needle-point character sketches and the perfection of the work's 24-hour time frame starting in dreams and ending the following dusk.
I don't really know anyone my age who didn't adore Roald Dahl. I loved all his books, and aside from the poignancy and humour and originality, my favourite thing about him is that he didn't shy away from scaring the bejesus out of children. When I read The Witches as a kid I was genuinely terrified in that glorious way that a good writer can make you. It definitely scared me more than any proper horror I read as an adult.
I'm a mum now and I love reading books to my seven-month-old baby, Rufus. Now look, the plot of Baby Unicorn is thin – the unicorn has a bath and helps a fairy (in fact that's probably 90 per cent of the text), but the centre of the book is a finger puppet of a unicorn, and when I make that unicorn wiggle around, Rufus looks at me like I am god. It's his first favourite book, and I will always love Baby Unicorn for that.
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