A portrait of the artist as a brooding young woman…

From The Independent:

GwenGwendoline Riley was finishing her first novel at the age that most of us were sleeping in, bunking off, or congregating around a pint at the student union bar. Turning her university dissertation into her debut, Cold Water (2002) she signed a two-book deal at the age of 22. Since then, she has accumulated a hipster-ish following and several literary awards (Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask Award, a John Llewellyn-Rhys Memorial prize shortlisted nomination). “So at 33, with her fourth novel, Opposed Positions (Jonathan Cape, £14.99) freshly under her belt, you'd imagine Riley would be living the garlanded life that a critically-acclaimed young novelist ought to be. Or at the very least, she should be settled into a comfortable existence, with heating and hot water and the odd shopping splurge.

Not so. Riley's lifestyle seems starkly at odds with her dust-jacket achievements. Over the five years it has taken to write Opposed Positions, Riley says she has had severe problems rubbing two pennies together. There have been unnerving moments of penury, wondering where the next subsistence cheque will be coming from. The cheques eventually came in the shape of tax credits, or literary grants, or summer school work, but it was far from the charmed life we imagine for our up-and-coming literary stars.

More here.