As an assistant editor for Ebury Publishing and founder of Into The Fold magazine, it’s safe to say that Camilla Ackley spends her life surrounded by words.
With a lot of time spent at home (like the rest of us), she’s been digging into more books than you can shake a bedsheet at.
In the latest edition of The Wind Down, we chat all things books with Camilla.
How do you unwind at home?
I’m calmest when I’m either reading or being creative, so I’ll usually settle down with a book and some wine or do some painting.
Recently I’ve been making things out of clay and it’s incredibly mindful, so that has been a lovely way to unwind as well.
Why are books your homing call?
There’s a book for everything, and I think that’s such a beautiful and unique aspect to reading. There is fiction to escape reality, books to broaden your horizons and teach you new things. There are books that take you somewhere else, books that remind you of home and the people you love.
I read for so many different reasons and what I’m reading always reflects my mood. It’s personal, the books you love and surround yourself with. There’s an unparalleled comfort for me when I find a good book - even if it’s challenging, or not even a comfortable narrative. Good writing is soothing.
What books have you been reading in lockdown that you’ve loved?
There’s too many to count! Three particular favourites have been Exciting Times by Noaise Dolan, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Weight by Jeanette Winterson.
Next up I’m starting Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and I’m incredibly excited.
What ‘makes’ a story for you?
When it comes to fiction, I’m always most drawn in by compelling characters. I like simple plots with exceptional writing and engaging humans.
Any books you go back to for comfort?
Jeanette Winterson’s writings on love throughout any of her books is always touching and challenging. She’s a safe pair of hands when it comes to needing a good book, and I always go back to her if I’m feeling a little lost.
What’s always on your bedside table?
About 5 books, my houseplant Peggy, a Papier notepad and This Works sleep spray.
If you could have written one book, what would it be?
Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. It’s compelling and brilliant and the characters are all terrible people. I love it.
What three bedroom items could you not live without?
I have one of those alarm clocks that slowly lights up the room to wake you up and I am now allergic to sudden alarms in the morning - also cosy bed covers of course (Camilla sleeps in Linen in Snow), and my paints.
Camilla sleeps in Bedfolk Linen in Snow
Any new books you’re committed to reading?
I’m committed to reading more books by black people and people of colour. I try to read diversely because books are an insight into other people’s worlds and they can be an important tool for both empathy and energy among the privileged, and empowering to those whose voices need to be elevated.
I’m putting even more energy into supporting those writers - both in their non-fiction and their fiction. Starting with Girl, Woman, Other and moving on to Me and White Supremacy by Laayla F Saad and Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. I also need to finish The Body Keeps the Score, which I keep putting off despite it being fascinating.
Camilla's Lie-in List
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism by Kristen Ghodsee, Written on The Body by Jeanette Winterson and Expectation by Anna Hope.
I May Destroy You (BBC), Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) and Leon the Professional.
Dead Eyes, Mate, anything by Phoebe Bridgers or Francesca Blanchard and Sport’s Team’s new album Deep Down Happy.
(Photographs taken by Camilla Ackley)