Grant Gillespie

Grant Gillespie’s a professional actor, novelist and screenwriter who lives in the beating heart of central London.

As well as his film and TV credits, Grant’s worked in theatre with notable directors such as Michael Grandage, Jamie Lloyd, Stephen Unwin and Erica Whyman. He also does MOCAP work and voices characters for computer games.

Grant’s debut novel, The Cuckoo Boy, was described as ‘an emotionally visceral debut’ (Guardian). ‘Gillespie explores the chasm between how children and adults perceive the world, and the devastating consequences of falling through this gap. The Cuckoo Boy is a savage indictment of hypocrisy and forced social convention.’ (Observer).

His short story, The Upper Hand, was published by Simon Schuster in the collection He Played For His Wife, also featuring Jennifer Tilly and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

Grant also writes TV series, podcast dramas, radioplays and screenplays, sometimes collaborating with Kate Ashfield (writer of CH4’s Born to Kill).

TO1%:  How did you first get into writing? 
GG:  I always loved doing ‘comprehensive essays’ – as creative writing was called at school – and when I was doing my A-levels, I was awarded a place on a creative writing course with the brilliant Helen Dunmore. 

TO1%:   What was your first published works? 
GG:  Before my novel was published, I think the only other times I was in print was in my school magazines. 

TO1%:  Do you read your writing dialogue aloud to yourself?
GG:  As an actor as well as a writer, I very much commit (embarrassingly so) to reading the dialogue aloud.  

TO1%: Do you think writers get the recognition they deserve? 
GG:  It’s become very apparent that the British government don’t hold the arts in any great esteem. No one is arguing that culture is as crucial as the NHS, but during lockdown it’s books, film, radio, music and art that’s making life – for many – bearable. 

TO1%:  How did you get involved with The Other 1%. 
GG:  Laura Lockington, a dear pal and fabulous writer asked me if I’d fancy co-writing with her and performing in one of her radio-plays and I jumped at the chance.

TO1%:  What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation? 
GG: The Innocents staring Deborah Kerr is a wonderful adaptation of The Turn of the Screw.

TO1%:  Do you listen to music when you write? 
GG:  I’ve been writing a gothic-style novel recently and I listen to disturbing instrumental music to set the tone. 

TO1%:  Do you have a writing schedule? (mornings/nighttime) 
GG:  I wish I had a schedule for any part of my life, but if the French work between meals, I work between drinks and sleeps.

TO1%:  Do your characters take over your life? Do you worry about them? 
GG:  I become very invested in my characters. It’s as if my brain is a guest house and they all have rooms there.

TO1%:  What do you write on? Laptop?Pen and paper? Quill? 
GG:  I like to write in pencil, but I make so many amendments I can never decipher it when I come back to it, so now I work on my laptop. 

TO1%:  Do you ever write in cafes? Or does that make you feel uncomfortable? 
GG:  I don’t write in cafes because I have an overriding social conscience and I’d feel so guilty about taking up a seat and nursing a coffee, I’d only be able to stay for 20 minutes or I’d order so many coffees out of guilt I’d probably have a caffeine fit. 

TO1%:  How do you read? (books? Kindle? Audio?) 
GG:  I fall asleep listening to spoken word every night and during the day I read an old fashioned book.

TO1%:  What’s your favourite writing snack? 
GG:  Salted sunflower seeds, that I have to de-shell.

TO1%:  What’s the last meal you cooked? 
GG:  Peanut butter biscuits and they were so horrible, they may be the last meal I cooked (forever).

TO1%:  What’s the last (non-food) thing you bought? 
GG:  Lockdown cigarettes to keep me from eating too much. 

TO1%:  Who is your favourite writer? 
GG:  Virginia Woolf.

TO1%:  What’s your desert Island book? 
GG:  The Waves.

TO1%:  What’s your best procrastination tactic? 
GG:  Everything I do. 

TO1%:  If you were given a million pounds in cash, with the proviso that you could never write again, would you take it?
GG:  I would take it, come up with a pseudonym and carry on writing.  

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