Clare PooleyOct 26, 2021
The Authenticity Project
Today I talked to Clare Pooley about her novel The Authenticity Project (Penguin, 2020).
In this chatty, very British story, a few personal lines written in a “pale-green exercise book like the one Monica had carried around with her at school,” inadvertently trigger enormous personal change in a group of strangers. Monica owns the café where Julian, an aging, lonely artist, has left a few words about himself in the exercise book. Julian hopes that whoever finds it might want to share their own truth and pass it along, and surprisingly, some do. Monica writes in it and leaves it for the next person, Hazard, a coke-snorting, financially high-flying jackass. Hazard takes it to Thailand and gives it to Riley, a cute young Australian gardener. And so on, but everyone ends up back Monica’s café, grappling with the challenges of finding love, or raising a baby, or getting sober. The Authenticity Project will bring you up to date on popular culture back in 2018, when slapdash gatherings, art classes in cafes, raising a glass with friends, and jumping on a plane to Thailand were all part of everyday life. Though not literary, this is a cute, charming story, and don’t be surprised if it turns into an even cuter movie.
Clare Pooley was a backup singer with ABBA when she was eleven, and later studied economics at Cambridge University, where she constantly raided the bookshelves of the English students. For years, she was passionate about drinking wine, which led to a chronic alcohol addiction. She quit drinking and started an anonymous blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker. The blog went viral and became a memoir, The Sober Diaries, which sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. She also gave a TEDX talk on the shame associated with alcohol addiction that has been viewed over 200,000 times. Before becoming a full-time writer, Pooley spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising. She lives in Fulham, London with her husband, three children, and two border terriers.
I interview authors of beautifully written literary fiction and mysteries, and try to focus on independently published novels, especially by women and others whose voices deserve more attention. If your upcoming or recently published novel might be a candidate for a podcast, please contact me via my website, gpgottlieb dot com.