Emma Glass: ‘I hope my book will help people find the language of the ordeal’

Peach is a startlingly unusual account of sexual violence – but the author explains why it could not be more told conventionally

Emma Glass didn’t set out to write a rape revenge story; when she started her debut Peach, she didn’t know what kind of novel she wanted to write. But 10 years ago, as she sat in a creative writing class, she could see what she did not want: the teacher (“a writer who’s quite successful in the UK with fantasy novels”) was leading a class of 20, who all “seemed to have ideas for really high-concept novels”, she recalls. “I guess that’s where stories start, but for me that’s not where the story started.”

Glass was reading Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, and was “fascinated with how everyone’s reading of those books is highly different, because the focus is on the language and not necessarily the story”. ...