What I'm Borrowing: Rhiannon Wilde

What I’m Borrowing is a blog series exploring our affection for libraries, loans, and sharing great reads. Each post we ask a Queensland writer and reader to tell us about their recent lending-loves.

This month we welcome author Rhiannon Wilde whose journey to publication involves winning the prestigious Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer in 2019. That winning manuscript is now Henry Hamlet's Heart, the recently published and very charming romance novel for young adults. Rhiannon is a former secondary English teacher who loves caffeine, and characters both real and imaginary. 

Tell us about the last thing you borrowed from the library. How did you discover it? Did you return it on time?

The last thing I borrowed from the library was How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan. I had wandered into the library feeling quite anxious, then the cover stood out to me on a shelf, and I devoured the first two stories while standing up in the YA aisle – it totally sucked me in. 

I am notoriously terrible at returning things on time! But I believe I returned it late within reason. Hopefully.    

Rhiannon looking delighted outside the first library she ever joined

Do you remember your first library card? Can you describe the library you visited as a child?

I do! I’ve always loved libraries and was very excited to sign up for my first card as a teen. It was at a mustard yellow country library that sits perched on a creek. A friend and I used to take a dance class on the same main street (which I was comically but cheerfully bad at); every Wednesday we’d get there early, share ice creams and then I would drag her to the library to pick out the top limit of books and sit by the creek. 

Henry Hamlet's Heart was published by UQP on 2 July

What other items are you, and people in your house, borrowing right now?

As a YA author, I often find libraries are a great place to find interesting titles in that genre. I recently re-borrowed Laurinda by Alice Pung, which I first came across in my first year of teaching, when my students absolutely loved it. Getting to read it for pleasure felt like real luxury! 

My partner reads quite variedly and likes to bring home very obscure but specific non-fiction books (that sometimes turn out to be just what I need to read to inform my own work, such as Shame by Joseph Burgo when I was editing a tough character in Henry Hamlet's Heart last year).

Thinking about your own bookshelf, what is your favourite book to lend out from home?

I lend everything! Though sometimes it’s definitely more ‘insistently foist upon’ than it is lending. My favourite book to lend out is a weathered copy of Jane Eyre; I love the different pieces of themselves people find scattered through Jane’s story.

In terms of more recent reads, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends are two that I give to pretty much anyone who comes to my house. Ditto Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley and Shannon Molloy’s incredible memoir Fourteen.  

About Rhiannon Wilde

Rhiannon Wilde was born in Sydney. She has been a journalist, terrible barista, and high school English teacher, before devoting herself to writing full time in Brisbane cafes dressed like a slightly subdued Elton John. In 2014, Rhiannon's second-person short story You Deserve Nothing was longlisted for the Queensland Young Writer's Award. In 2019 her first novel Henry Hamlet's Heart won the Queensland Literary Awards Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer.

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