Isy Suttie writes her debut novel

Monday 9th November 2020, 3:28pm by Jay Richardson

  • Isy Suttie will publish her first novel next year, Jane Is Trying
  • The story focuses on a woman in her late thirties who moves back in with her parents after a break-up
  • Suttie says: "It's been a lot harder to write than my first book. But ultimately, more enjoyable too"
Isy Suttie.

Isy Suttie has written her first novel.

Provisionally titled Jane Is Trying, the book is set to be published on 22nd July by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Jane is bright, funny but anxious, back living with her parents in her late thirties. She's returned from London to Derbyshire after a traumatic break-up, prompted by struggles to conceive and her boyfriend's infidelity. Working part-time in an eccentric local bookshop, she doesn't know what to do next but is really, really trying hard to find her way.

The protagonist shares Suttie's middle name, Jane. And she has returned to a part of Derbyshire close to where the comic and actor grew up, in Matlock. But the novel is not autobiographical she told British Comedy Guide in an interview published today.

There are "a lot of differences" she explained. "It's useful to push yourself away from your comfort zone."

However, "it's also wise to use those experiences you had growing up. I'm out of my comfort zone anyway because it's a novel and it's been a lot harder to write than my first book. But ultimately, more enjoyable too. There's a village near Matlock called Cromford, which is where I picture the book, with a bookshop called Scarthin Books that I really love. And that's how I picture the bookshop.

"It's tricky. Gavin & Stacey is such a hit isn't it? I'm sure Ruth Jones always thinks about whether to set something in Wales again or elsewhere. Writing what you know is a cliché. But there's some truth to it. I didn't need to write about a 42-year-old woman living in London, modelled on my life. But my characters were inevitably going to be amalgamations of people I know."

Suttie previously published a memoir, The Actual One, in 2016. And she is planning to write a young adult novel, as well as collaborating with Rebekah Staton (Home, Pulling) on a new television project.

The musical comic is also reviving her The Things We Do For Love podcast, with upcoming guest interviewees including Jo Brand, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Josie Long, Jess Fostekew, Tom Parry and Margaret Cabourn-Smith.

Meanwhile, Penguin Random House are publishing Isy Suttie's Love Letters And Other Matters Of The Heart, an audio collection of her Radio 4 series that includes the special Pearl And Dave and both series of the Sony Award-winning Isy Suttie's Love Letters, as well as her Guide To Love And Romance and Guide To The Family, plus the one-off documentaries Brain Tingles, in which the comic investigated ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), and While My Guitar Gently Bleeps, in which she explored the world of computer-generated chiptune.

The collection will be available to buy from 26th November, following other recent BBC Audio releases such as Miles Jupp Is Literally Unputdownable and Ellie Taylor's Safe Space.

Isy Suttie interview


Isy Suttie - Jane Is Trying

Isy Suttie - Jane Is Trying

Jane is bright, funny and very anxious. Jane is in her late thirties but living with her parents. Jane is back in the sticks - having left London after a traumatic breakup with a boyfriend, prompted by their struggles to conceive and his infidelity. Jane is working part-time in an eccentric local bookshop, having left a successful career behind. Jane doesn't know what to do next - but she is really, really trying!

First published: Thursday 22nd July 2021

Isy Suttie's Love Letters And Other Matters Of The Heart - The Complete Series 1 & 2

Isy Suttie's Love Letters And Other Matters Of The Heart - The Complete Series 1 & 2

The Sony Award-winning comedian and Peep Show star talks life and love.

Isy Suttie is our guide to all things love-related in these five fantastic series. Come with her as she shares her relationship stories, talks about the couples she's tried to bring together, evokes bittersweet memories of her childhood and adolescence, and shares a couple of the weird and wonderful things that give her pleasure.

In her award-winning show Isy Suttie's Love Letters, she recounts love stories affecting people she's known, intertwined with anecdotes and songs about her own disastrous romantic life and eventual happiness.

Also includes the 2012 special Isy Suttie: Pearl And Dave.

Isy Suttie's Guide To Love And Romance sees her chatting to friends and partner Elis James, and sourcing extracts from The Listening Project, to paint a picture of love in the 21st Century - from first loves and Valentine's to hook-ups and break-ups.

And in Isy Suttie's Guide To The Family, she returns to her teenage home town, Matlock, for a celebration of family life and growing up. Along the way, she reminisces with old friends in The Shoe Box of Memories, and treats us to some classic BBC comedy from Sarah Millican's Support Group, After Henry, Old Dog And Partridge and Not In Front Of The Children.

The collection also includes two documentaries from the comedian.

Ever since she was little, Isy has experienced something she calls 'head squeezing' - a euphoric, incredibly relaxing version of goosebumps that starts around her scalp and spreads down her arms. Its official name is ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) and in Brain Tingles, she investigates this mysterious phenomenon, chatting to scientists and fellow 'ASMRians' to explore why it happens and whether it can play a role in creativity.

Finally, in While My Guitar Gently Bleeps, Isy takes a nostalgic look at chiptune: the catchy, evocative videogame music of the 1980s and '90s that she loved as a geeky kid. She meets the musicians using joysticks and old computers to create unique electronic tunes - and even tries her hand at writing her own digital classic....

First released: Thursday 26th November 2020

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