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Cambridge author charts the flow of spirituality with new book

Emily Scialom with her second book outside Waterstones in Sidney Street. Picture: Keith Heppell
Emily Scialom with her second book outside Waterstones in Sidney Street. Picture: Keith Heppell

Writer/poet/musician Emily Scialom discusses her novel writing style

Having published her first novel, The Religion of Self-Enlightenment, in 2016 – a story about a man who has a near-death experience and writes a new religion in a state of complete insanity – Emily Scialom is not only preparing to release her second novel, but has also started work on her third.

Entitled The Rivers, Scialom’s second piece of extended prose is a love story and features poetry and political observations, while her third will be a philosophical work called The Existence of Good.

Born in Hackney in 1984, Scialom spent her early years in Glastonbury, before moving to Cambridge at the age of 12. After completing her studies in English, history and psychology at Hills Road Sixth Form College, she went on to study music and media at Liverpool University before returning to Cambridge.

She formed a band and played various venues in Cambridge, such as King’s College and The Junction, and in 2008 turned her hand to writing novels.

Emily, who has also had her poetry published – for the first time when she was only eight years old – tells the Cambridge Independent that her new book is about “romance and politics,” adding: “It’s a mixture of narrative, philosophy, poetry and romance, and will be out this year published by Austin Macauley.”

She says that The Rivers ties in with The Religion of Self-Enlightenment, a well-received tome that has been prominently displayed in Heffers – and which is now available in every book shop in Cambridge.

“There was a relationship in the first book which I thought needed to be elaborated upon,” explains Emily, “and I’ve taken maybe two chapters that I intended to have in the first book and actually they were strong enough on their own to start off a whole second book, so I’ve used them as a platform to build another storyline around.”

Emily believes that writers and musicians are born and not made. “I’m not terribly good at a lot of things, but one thing that I can do is write,” she says, “so I tend to stick to what I love.”

Religion is something that inspires Emily. “I gave my life to God about five years ago,” she notes. “I’m not a conventional religious person in any sense of the word.

“I grew up in Glastonbury, which is a melting pot of cultures and spirituality, and I very much lean towards the left field of spirituality, but I do believe there’s something intrinsically beautiful in life.”

Emily concluded: “I know there are a lot of books being released nowadays, but I’m hoping this book [The Rivers] will stand out in some way or another as something that can really reach through to people.

“I think there’s a need in this society for philosophers and writers to step forward, because effectively we’ve got a lot of issues going on and I’d like to be one of those people.”

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