My novel The Start of Something is published!

On 11 April 2024, my second novel came out in hardback, published by Orion… I managed to to celebrate it twice, with a launch party at The Devereux in London and in Sheffield, upstairs at The Rutland and organised by the wonderful Juno Books. Plus a cheery bookshop tour, meaning there are signed copies available in Burley Fisher, Foyles, The LRB Bookshop, and Waterstones in Islington, Tottenham Court Road and Sheffield!

And I was lucky enough to get some very generous press…

  • THE I PAPER called it one of ‘The best new books to read in April’ and published a full review by Emily Watkins:

“Holly Williams’s second novel The Start of Something chronicles instances of intimacy, harder than ever to come by in the internet age, and asks universal questions about loneliness, identity and love … Each new chapter focuses on someone who was introduced in the last, a kind of sexy relay race.

The characters arrive at their various trysts jangling with anxiety, making bids for oblivion and trying to rewrite the stories about themselves that they’ve been telling all their lives. For some, the moments of connection are meaningless, means to an end; for others, they mean everything. And while Williams deals compellingly with the ins and outs (pun intended) of her plot, she’s at her best when tapping into the inherent vulnerability that makes sex such a useful vehicle to talk about other things …

Using her characters and their entanglements to ignite conversations as diverse as they are, Williams shows us that it is in the overlaps – of bodies and ideas alike – that life’s most precious things grow”

  • MARIE CLAIRE called it one of ‘The best new books in 2024’. Catherine Jarvie’s review read:

“A series of sexual encounters that range from joyous to transactional to downright troubling over the course of one long, hot summer … various misunderstandings and misalignments occur as each character takes charge of their story. Williams corrals a diverse cast – an artist, a sex worker, a drag queen and a welder among them – to create a fun, big-hearted and at times thought-provoking read about the search for connection in an all-too-busy, atomised world.”

  • Helen Whitaker chose The Start of Something as one of her six book picks for April in GRAZIA:

“Williams skillfully explores connections, complications and ‘situationships’ in all of their messy glory”

“The Start of Something executes the perfect balance of intricate short story and cohesive novel … to toss and turn ideas from different perspectives and angles – bisexuality as experienced by different genders and personalities, whether there is always a winner and loser in open relationships, whether it’s possible for women to perform passivity for the male gaze in a way that gives rather than takes their agency, ‘selling out’ as an artist.

The book has a wonderful momentum, in each chapter and as a whole – I’d often tell myself I’d just read one before bed and then be compelled to start the next one … the reader gets to experience that pleasure of meeting a new person, feeling that pull of intrigue, of wondering if they will be someone we get to know more. I found it a lovely way to enact the experience of fiction with hopping between different identities and ways of seeing the world.”

  • Bookseller Gayle Lazda at THE LRB Bookshop included it as a ‘Spring Picks 2024’:

“The second novel from Holly Williams, ​The Start of Something, is a ​La Ronde for the 21st century – ten brilliantly drawn glimpses into the lives of ten people during ten interlocking sexual encounters”

  • The Start of Something was picked by COSMOPOLITAN as one of the ’20 best books to look forward to in 2024′
  • I was in THE INDEPENDENT writing about how I wanted the novel to explore many different kinds of relationships – and what I learned from exploring ethical non-monogamy
  • I was in THE TRIBUNE, writing about how I fell in love with Sheffield and wanted to set my book there
  • I had a piece about writing queer sex scenes, and how I was inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, for DIVA magazine, in their 30 anniversary issue!
  • I was on BBC RADIO SHEFFIELD, discussing the novel, as well as love, grief, writing, and why Sheffield is great
  • As a featured writer at Nottingham Trent University, I spoke about the book (and my previous novel!) at a live event at the Central Library
  • And I was also interviewed for Nottingham publication, LEFT LION

Where next?