Congratulations to V.A. Sola Smith whose debut novel Lay Baby is launched today! Alexander Masters has called it 'excoriating' - it's a superb portrait of a young woman growing up in the North of England, and exploring sex, drugs and literature, and what it means to grieve and grow. A transgressive potent book.

‘The way they see it, all I’ve got to do is ‘‘be good’’ for nine months,
until I turn sixteen, until I’m free from school and guardians and
binned into the council-housing-raffle-barrel. The way I see it, well,
I don’t see it. And that, they tell me, is the problem.’

Lay Baby is a Basketball Diaries for the Asbo Generation. Layla, or Lay
Baby as she is known by her fellow council estate comrades and friends at
the Steps, is a working class British teenager during the Iraq War. Living
a hard-scrabble existence in and out of school ‘up North’ in post-Cool
Britannia Britain, amid the estates and detritus of a dozen lost weekends
and weekdays, Lay Baby tries to find meaning in life after the death of
her lover, Jim. Filled with humour, compassion, and unsparingly frank
descriptions of sex and drug use, this transgressive debut novel has the
style of a work of literature, and the gut-punch of Naked Lunch.

This is a powerful, fresh, excoriating book written with an exquisite ear for harsh dialogue and sudden, beautiful twists of phrase.— Alexander Masters, author of Stuart: A Life Backwards

V.A.Sola Smith completed a Contemporary
Prose Fiction MA at Kingston University,
graduating with Distinction in 2010. She has
had flash fiction published in Little Episodes’
anthology Brainstorms and her poems have been
published in Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for
Oxfam and Sculpted: An Anthology of the North
West and the anthology The Best New British and
Irish Poets 2016. Her poetry pamphlet Almost Kid
was published in 2015.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.