Sue Nelson is a multi award-winning British science journalist specializing in space. She makes radio documentaries for the BBC, short films for scientific organizations and the European Space Agency, and co-presents the monthly Space Boffins podcast. A former BBC TV News science correspondent, Sue has reported on a number of space missions over the years. More recently she achieved a personal ambition by floating like an astronaut onboard a Zero G flight.
For more on Sue Nelson, visit her company website.
Biggest literary influencers:
Angela Carter, Anita Brookner, Elizabeth Taylor (the author not the actress), Jon Ronson, Margaret Atwood, Daphne Du Maurier, Maya Angelou, PJ O’Rourke.
Last book read:
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
The book that changed your life:
A tough one. Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure made me realize how the printed word could produce a physical emotional response. When the child killed himself ‘done because we are too menny’ my body convulsed and I was emotionally distraught for days afterwards. Even just thinking about it tightens my stomach. Arabian Nights and The Odyssey were reread over and over as child as I was transfixed by the imaginative stories, narratives, unusual characters and mythology. More recently, I found both The Book Thief and All the Light We Cannot See astonishing. Beautifully written, visual, unforgettable.
Your favorite literary character:
I rather like the self-absorbed and delusion monster that is Angelica ‘Angel’ Deverell in Elizabeth Taylor’s novel Angel. I read it about 30 years ago when Virago reprinted it in the UK but it never really left me. I reread it more recently for book club and loved it all over again – as did everybody else. Angel is vividly real in all her pettiness, pride, arrogance and permanent disappointment at life and people not reflecting her own inflated opinion of herself. Her bad behavior makes you gasp but then it will elicit laughter and even pity at times. A brilliant book and a brilliant and unforgettable central character.
Currently working on:
Possibly a British woman who ended up an astronomer in America. Or 10 personal tales from my career that are utterly barking.
Words to live by:
Two glasses of wine is enough. (I don’t always succeed).
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Write your story and tell it how you want it to be told.
“I got a kick out of your description of Wally who is definitely one of a kind. Wally is unchanged from the college Wally. We women pilots are blessed to mingle with some mighty interesting and accomplished women. And you did a fine job introducing Wally to the world.” — Mercury 13 member Gene Nora Jessen
“You did an excellent job on your book, “Wally Funk’s Race to Space”. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. She has inspired many and continues to inspire many.” — Mercury 13 member Sarah Ratley
“A charming window into the life of an extraordinary woman.” — Angela Saini, author of the bestselling Inferior.