©AlexanderJames

©AlexanderJames

Author of ‘The View on the Way Down’ (Picador, 2013) and ‘The Followers’ (Picador, May 2015).

I grew up in the Oxfordshire countryside and read English at Oxford University, where I specialised in Old English poetry and early Bible translation.

I wrote ‘The View on the Way Down’ in the evenings whilst working as a teaching assistant the year after graduating. I now live in south London, where I teach English part time in a secondary school, spending the rest of my time writing. I am currently working on my third novel, which is about Neanderthals, autism and friendship.

My agent is Caroline Hardman at Hardman & Swainson.

 

49 Responses to

  1. Sue Irwin says:

    Becky, Matthew & Victoria posted us a copy of your novel which has me well intrigued. I look forward to reading it & wish you all the very best in future writing. How very dedicated & determined you are, a lot of hard work, but exciting times ahead . Our very best wishes Sue & Peter (Donaghadee) x

  2. rebeccawait says:

    Thank you so much, Sue and Peter! I hope you enjoy it. x

  3. Jean Knight says:

    Dear Rebecca Wait: what a wonderful book – thank you. Just – literally – finished reading it. I have no experience of the truly damaging knock-on effects a suicide in one’s immediate family must have: a total tsunami of happiness’s/fulfilments assumed but not realised or things families take as given or choose not to see when the evidence is there. You have caught it brilliantly and sympathetically. Well done you …..Jean Knight

  4. Les Moriarty says:

    Very nice to hear your work and see you at the Chipping Norton Festival Friday night.

  5. raymondwunna says:

    Rebecca your book is a very good read.
    regards,
    Raymond Wunna.(Artist)

  6. Neville says:

    I have just finished your astonishing book in a daze. Tender, humane, compassionate, unexpected and agonisingly sad. It is a lovely, if emotional read!. Thank you Rebecca.

  7. Mel Van De Klundert says:

    Rebecca , I just finished your novel. I loved it. I work at the Dunedin Public Library in new Zealand I will be adding it to the ” we recommend ” stand whenever I can ! All the best and I will look out for your next work.
    Mel

  8. Andy Stevens (aka. Captain Fryatt) says:

    Rebecca, it was great to meet you at the Winchester Writers Conference, your comments were very helpful indeed. Just ordered The View on the Way Down through Amazon (should have gone to bookshop, I know)…looking forward to reading it. Andy

  9. Pip says:

    Hi Rebecca, managed to get my hands on your book while Dan was away for the weekend and finished it in a day. A very good read and truly thought provoking.
    I loved your inscription to Dan but wonder what you you would write to Andrew or Stephen!!!
    I look forward to reading your next novel.
    Pip. (Dan’s mum and Isabel’s colleague. (Among other things!!))

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hi Pip, thanks for reading it and so glad you enjoyed it! Maybe one day I’ll get to meet Andrew and Stephen in person and see if Dan’s descriptions are accurate.

  10. Alastair Hay says:

    Hi Rebecca! I’ve just finished your novel. It was a compulsive, painful, but unputdownable read for me. My wife committed suicide about 11 years ago and I have been through most of the emotions your characters experience, but not anger. Reading Kit’s description of his pain I was transported back to the days when my wife was struggling with hers. Dealing with her suicide was such a painful process, but one I got through years ago with much help. Your wonderful, sensitive book will be thought provoking for many and cathartic for people like me. Thank you for having the courage to write it. Alastair

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Thank you so much, Alastair. I wanted to write the book to describe what it feels like to be depressed – it’s hard to put it into words. I’m so sorry you had such an awful experience. I really appreciated your message. Rebecca

  11. Margaret Renshaw says:

    Hi Rebecca. I came across your book when it was mentioned on the ‘not the Man Booker’ article on the Guardian website. I downloaded and read it in pretty much one session. Fantastic read, very moving, well done. I live in Borneo, so thought you’d like to know that your talent has travelled a long way! Regards, Maggie

  12. vasundhra vigneswaran says:

    Hi Rebecca.I came across your book while browsing the books at the bookstore. The story which you have written had captured my attention completely.This book is an honest and beautiful read.I recommend other readers to try this book. i absolutely love it! I’ll be sure to catch up on your next book !
    Regards,
    Vasundhra

  13. lionvilla says:

    After a bit of logging in trauma, I may have left this twice! I was alerted to your novel through the SHSK OG newsletter and chose it for our reading group this month. It’s going to be a huge discussion. I am a Samaritan listener and a Mental Health Act Manager and the two sit I. A conflicting position regarding self determination, a really huge topic and you are very brave to have tackled it. I wonder whether you had some personal experience to draw on? The novel itself was a good read with characters that were very believable with authentic voices. Are you engaging with the Mental Health sector for events or sticking to the literary path?

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hello, pleased to hear you liked the book. I’m very interested in mental health issues (partly because of my own experience of depression) and I’m a big supporter of Samaritans. Generally the events I’ve attended have been literary, for example, book clubs/ library readings/ literary festivals, but I would be interested in engaging with the Mental Health sector – I’ve written and spoken in the past about the personal impact of depression (e.g. for the New Statesman), as it’s something I feel strongly about. Becky

      • lionvilla says:

        Interesting, I have the last 4 NS issues, I recycle once a month, was it a recent piece. Sounds like you’ve done something very positive with your personal experience, as I hope I have with my voluntary work. I think you capture very well that things come and go, I sight is a great tool to help stay well. Alastair Campbell speaks well on this cycle and manages the literary and MH circuit, you’d be a lovely new voice, we’d certainly welcome you at our branch of Samaritans in Gloucestershire and perhaps you’ll get to the Cheltenham Literary Festival next year.

  14. Yvette Brummer says:

    Hi Rebecca. I live in Cape Town and recently found your novel in a bookshop. Ostensibly, I bought it for book club but kept it for myself. I finished it this afternoon. You are a few years older than my daughter so I possibly/unwittingly read it from a parent’s point of view. (She was recently diagnosed with depression and subsequently took a leave of absence from university.) Your story resonated. I think depression is scary for all concerned. And your novel was brutal and frightening at times. Shrapnel all round I fear. It’s a brave story. I hope many people read it. It appears that depression is on its own growth path in younger people. Thank you for writing it and I wish you great success with your next story. I look forward to reading it.
    Take care.
    Yvette.
    P.S. I will put the novel into the Book Club pool!

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hi Yvette. Thank you – it’s encouraging to hear that the book resonated with you. It was in some ways a harrowing novel to write, but the subject is important to me. I think people are starting to talk more openly about depression these days, which is excellent. I really hope your daughter begins to feel better soon.
      Best wishes,
      Rebecca

  15. Steph says:

    I was shocked to hear that this is your first book, it reads like the work of a very experienced writer. I look forward to your next novel. Fabulous book, I couldn’t put it down.

  16. Rebecca thank you for this great site. I am looking forward to reading your novel and plan to download it as soon as I post this comment. May I also applaud your persistence and hard work as well as your courage in tackling a very emotive topic (which I have gathered from the comments here). I wanted to thank you too for giving me the final push I needed to get working on the final draft of my own novel which is about a mental health nurse struggling with her own mental health issues in the staff accommodation block of a 198os psychiatric hospital. I have published academically but felt moved to write fiction several years ago as I find fiction and poetry particularly affirming and therapeutic myself, as do many people I hear). Numerous re-writes have taken place as well as several rejections – the rejections are getting nicer and more constructive though, if that makes any sense! So thank you again for the inspiration and I look forward to reading all your work as it comes out as well as exploring the rest if your site here. May I end with one I my favourite quotes which is also my email signature – Ernest Hemingway reputedly observed that ‘There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ Best wishes, Roberta

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hi Roberta. The premise of your novel sounds absolutely fascinating – and sounds like you are at an exciting stage with it now, with everything starting to come together. I know exactly what you mean when you say the feedback is getting nicer and more constructive – means people are beginning to see it as a novel with real potential. I wish you all the best with it! Becky

  17. Alexandra says:

    I recently read your book and I just thought it was absolutely breathtaking – I’ve never read a book like it and it’s definitely gone onto my ‘favourite books’ list now. Your writing style was so unique and just utterly brilliant that I genuinely couldn’t put it down and it’s just shocking that you haven’t taken any courses on creative writing because this truly is the work of an artist. I can’t wait to see what you have in your next book and am super excited to read it!

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Thank you for such a lovely, encouraging comment! Very cheering for me to read on this grey and rainy morning as I redraft my second novel for the millionth time.

  18. Veeha says:

    Rebecca, I just finished your book and it is beautiful. It’s lovely to read something so honest and non pretentious. The book some how felt intimate, like I’ve known Kit and Jamie for years. I’m excited to read your next work.
    xoxox
    Veeha
    P.s. I’m Indian. Just thought you should know you have a fan all the way here!

  19. Martin says:

    Hi Rebecca
    Its a long time since a book has gripped me so much. I finished it 10 minutes ago. In those last few pages I was so worried for Jamie, hoping to god that they would find him before it was too late for him. I was so terrified for him… it felt so real. The reconciliation of father and son was so wonderful – not overdone and slushy, but just beautifully understated. I love the way you tell the story from everyone’s perspective, and get us into everyone’s head so perfectly and as others have said, we grow really close to the family. I could go on….but must get back to work! Thank you …. I cried tears of joy at the end, its rare a book does that to me, very rare

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hello Martin. Just wanted to say thanks for this message – I love hearing from readers (especially if they’ve enjoyed the book!). And I’m so glad you found joy in the ending – I did want to end on a note of hope.
      Becky

  20. tillyv says:

    Hi Becky – just wanted to say that I am very much looking forward to your next book. I have just lent “The View..” to a friend who writes and she is most impressed. I hope you are well and enjoying the teaching. Tilly.

  21. Octavia says:

    Just borrowed your book from the library and read it all in one sitting! I found it very readable and moving. On a personal level, it helped me to understand my friend’s husband’s suicide better, as well as resonating with the impact on my own family when my brother died. I hope you publish something else very soon!

    • Rebecca Wait says:

      Hello Octavia. Sorry for the belated reply (I’ve been rubbish at checking my website recently). But thank you so much for such a nice comment. I really appreciate it. Rebecca

  22. Andrew says:

    Lovely talk at today’s Sunday Assembly

  23. mryam baj says:

    hello Rebecca,
    i used to hate reading (not hated just didn’t feel like i loved reading)
    but after i read your book i knew that reading was fun
    i cried , i laughed and i loved you for writing such a good story
    while i was reading i imagined myself in the characters place the father Jamie
    I’m really looking. forward to read more of your books in the future

  24. Taylor says:

    Hi Rebecca, thank you for the courage to write on a topic which is so much a taboo, and yet so close to us. It’s not just a book to read, but issues to think about after reading it. A good read not just for entertainment, but for growth as well. Reminded me of the time when I had the same thought: if I was right to support my sister’s decision not to go ahead with the treatment for her leukemia. She died within three months of the diagnosis. And it is still something we don’t talk about at home. And it’s the same words I would say to her, what Jamie said in the end. Thank you .

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