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Debut novelist Zoe Pilger: 'Amersham Arms in New Cross inspired me'
A Goldsmiths student and debut novelist has revealed how the Amersham Arms' 'Take Courage' sign helped fulfill her dream to be a writer.
Zoe Pilger sent shockwaves through the literary community with her electric debut novel Eat My Heart Out.
Her book focuses on Ann-Marie, a hedonistic 23-year-old who ricochets from student heartbreak to a Little Mermaid-themed party in a warehouse with some kinky sex and burlesque embarrassments thrown in along the way.
Zoe, who is also an art critic for the Independent, told Vibe she was taken aback by the reaction to her novel.
The homegrown south Londoner, who went to school in Tooting, said: “I have been surprised about how much men seemed to like it.
"My friend was telling me the other day how he feels like he is Ann-Marie, trapped in the body of a 35-year-old man.
“It’s all about being adventurous and curious and young.”
The 29-year-old has been a fan of the New Cross-based university, Goldsmiths, for a long time.
She said: “I first knew it when we would drive past it when my mum would take me back to Cambridge each term. I’d look out the window and wish I went there.
“It’s everything you want from a university because it enables you to do what you want.
“I enjoy the New Cross pubs and was in the Marquis of Granby just the other night.
“I loved seeing the 'Take Courage' sign above the Amersham Arms when I’d come into New Cross station each day.
"It really inspired me when I was hoping to become a novelist and I would see that every morning.”
The author recommended budding writers have faith.
She said: “My main tip is not to give up.
“I often wonder to myself why I’m doing it especially, when I’m sitting in a dark room fantasising about all these things and my friends are all down the pub.”
Zoe is researching a PhD on the concept of romantic subjection in the work of French artist Sophie Calle at Goldsmiths where she has also taught social and political theory.
She received an MA from the university in 2010 as well after getting a BA from Cambridge in 2007.
Zoe was also featured in News Shopper's sister paper The Wandsworth Guardian back in 2001 for coming in the top five in the country for her English Literature GCSE result at Graveney School.
Eat My Heart Out costs £11.99 and is published by Serpent's Tail.
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