Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.


‘Like A Hurricane’ by Neil Young

I like to listen to the acoustic version of ‘Like A Hurricane’ by Neil Young. It is such a beautiful song and the emotion and energy in it is indisputable. It still catches me every time.


‘Hoppípolla’ by Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós are a great band to listen to while writing as they just have great soundscapes that are evocative but won’t distract you; you can still zone into your own work – I like a lot of their work like ‘Hoppípolla’. I love the video to this as well.


‘The Garden’ by Einstürzende Neubauten

I love the repetitive, hypnotic quality of ‘The Garden’ by Einstürzende Neubauten. They’re like the aural equivalent of Gertrude Stein’s Portrait of Picasso, and the simple way they have of repeating riffs reminds me of re-writing and editing, which is an endless process of refinement and repetition.


‘I Am a Scientist’ by Guided by Voices

Though there are a lot of favourite Guided by Voices tracks I listen to, I like ‘I Am a Scientist’ as a writing song. I feel like a scientist of words and when you need to remember what is beautiful in words and the surreal, and lo-fi, they are your band.


‘Song to the Siren’ by Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to The Siren’ is another song that reminds me of really capturing that elusive thing that says everything! It’s a space I find when writing sometimes, a thing that happens, that writers wait for, it’s why we revisit the page day in day out, because sometimes, amid the work and re-writes we get a few minutes to fly. I like Tim Buckley’s laid-back sorrow. The Monkeys did a great version of this as well.


Photograph © Nadav Kander

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