Sara Baume


Sara Baume is the author of A Line Made by Walking, which was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, and Spill Simmer Falter Wither, which received the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and was longlisted for, among others, the Warwick Prize for Writing, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her short fiction and essays have been published in anthologies, newspapers, and journals including the Irish Times, the Guardian, the Stinging Fly, and Granta. She is a graduate of the International Writing Program run by the University of Iowa and the recipient of a Literary Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. She lives in Cork, Ireland.

Winter 2011. A dark-sky morning, rain battering against our rented roof. The sound of clinking—softly, softly—like the rigging of a sailing ship, a wind chime caught in a draught. It clinks through my sleep; my dream-riddled mind registers it as unfamiliar—not the usual birdsong or barking or my boyfriend’s breathing—its unfamiliarity rouses me. Cautiously, I descend the stairs to find our ground floor flooded. Soupy water shin deep, surface bog brown and rippled. But the water itself is deathly silent. It’s the empty glass bottles usually placed in a cluster around the base of the rubbish bin that make the sound. They are floating about, colliding gently with one another. The table and chairs stand helpless in the flood. The dog’s water dish has sunk beneath the weight of its load. My left Wellington boot has filled up and capsized. Its novelty polka dots seem suddenly, unbearably, ridiculous.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard