Nydia Hetherington

Posted by Sue Leonard on Friday 26th February 2021

An imaginative child, Nydia was unhappy at school.

“I found it humiliating,” she says. “All I wanted to do was sit in my bedroom and listen to David Bowie. I found my diaries recently, and didn’t recognise the petulant person I was reading about.”

Gaining bad A’Level grades, she didn’t go on to university.

“I was doing theatre work with groups around Leeds, and I set up a company for a few years. Then, at 21, I moved to London wanting to act. I worked as an actor, and in an Independent record shop. Then, at 30, I moved to Paris to train in Physical Theatre.”

She set up a theatre company, and loved the experience, but at 39, finding the constant search for funding frustrating, she decided to find a new career. So, moving back to London, she applied for a creative writing course.

“It was part-time. I worked in a shoe shop to pay the fees. I started writing my debut as a fiction exercise in class. When I graduated, in 2015, I brought all the elements together and spent two years completing it. And I worked part-time in an art gallery.”

She gained an agent, but had many rejections, “I stopped counting at 34,” before she got her deal.


Who is Nydia Hetherington? 

Date of birth: Born near Liverpool. 1970.

Education:  Rodillian Comprehensive School; Jacques Lecoq Theatre School; Birbeck College; BA in Creative Writing.

Home: Bromley.

Family: Husband Andy.

The Day Job: Fulltime writer. “but I don’t know how long that will be viable for.”

In Another Life: “To have the choice to keep writing. When I started, it was an epiphany.”

Favourite Writers: Katherine Dunn; Isabella Allende ;Angela Carter; Haruki Murakami. Salmon Rushdie; William Blake.

Second Novel: “I’m writing it. It’s based in South London”.

Top Tip: “Don’t let yourself not write.”

Website: www.nydiahetherington.com    Twitter: @Nydiamadeofair


The Debut: A Girl Made of Air. Quercus: €17.99.  Kindle: €8.49. 

Born into a circus family, Mouse feels lost. Looking back, a successful tightrope walker, she weaves together the legends, magic, and folklore of the circus.

“The book is about the relationship between women, and about how we pass on stories of historical trauma.”

The Verdict: A skilful lyrical depiction of a surreal life.


Published in The Irish Examiner on 10th October.

© Sue J Leonard. 2020.

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