Joanna Walsh is the author of Vertigo, Hotel, Grow a Pair, and Fractals. Her writing has also been published in Granta, The Dalkey Archive Best European Fiction 2015, Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015, The Stinging Fly, gorse, The Dublin Review and many more. She reviews for, amongst others, The New Statesman and The Guardian. She was a judge on the 2016 Goldsmiths prize, is a contributing editor at 3:AM Magazine and Catapult, and is the founder of @read_women. She was awarded the 2017 UK Arts Foundation Fellowship in Creative Non-Fiction.

More Info

  • Read about Joanna Walsh’s ‘haunting and unforgettable’ collection Vertigo, and her ‘terrifyingly perceptive, subversively hilarious’ Worlds from the Word’s End.
  • Read an interview in TANK magazine here.
  • Take a look at Joanna Walsh’s website here.


Chris Kraus

‘Joanna Walsh’s haunting and unforgettable stories enact a literal vertigo by probing the spaces between things . . . Her narrator approaches the suppressed state of panic coursing beneath things that are normally tamed by our blunted perceptions of ordinary life. Vertigo is an original and breathtaking book.’

Alex Preston
The Guardian

‘Profoundly affecting.’ Alex Preston, Best Books of 2016

Claire Kohda Hazelton
The Guardian

‘Beautifully simple and unembellished, Walsh’s writing – most captivating in its ability to unnerve – is cleverly revealing of her protagonist’s unique and sensitive personality.’

Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘This beautifully wrought collection of stories made me think of tiny French cakes laid out in a patisserie: some tart, some sweet, some with a hidden centre, all beautifully constructed and each one exactly its own thing.’

Sarah Ditum
New Statesman

Vertigo is artful, intelligent . . . Walsh is a sublimely elegant writer.’

Steph Cha
Los Angeles Times

‘Think Renata Adler’s Speedboat with a faster engine . . .  Vertigo reads with the exhilarating speed and concentrated force of a poetry collection. Each word seems carefully weighed and prodded for sound, taste, touch . . . The stories are delicate, but they leave a strong impression, a lasting sense of detachment colliding with feeling, a heady destabilization.’

Heidi Julavits
The New York Times

‘Her stories reveal a psychological landscape lightly spooked by loneliness, jealousy and alienation.’

Maddie Crum
Huffington Post

Vertigo is a funny, absurd collection of stories.’

Jonathon Sturgeon

‘Her writing sways between the tense and the absurd, as if it’s hovering between this world and another . . . Vertigo may redistribute the possibilities of contemporary fiction, especially if it meets with the wider audience her work demands.’


‘Less a collection of linked short stories – though it is that, too – than a cinematic montage, a collection of photographs, or a series of sketches, Walsh’s book would be dreamlike if it weren’t so deliciously sharp . . . With wry humour and profound sensitivity, Walsh takes what is mundane and transforms it into something otherworldly with sentences that can make your heart stop. A feat of language.’

Darcie Dennigan
The Rumpus

‘If anyone in the course of reviewing Vertigo refers to Joanna Walsh as a “woman writer” or says the book is about women, relationships, or mothering, I will send an avenging batibat to infiltrate his dreams because that would be like saying Waiting for Godot is about a bromance . . . No, this book is about how embarrassing it is to be alive, how each of us is continually barred from our self . . . Vertigo is a writer’s coup, an overthrow of everyday language . . . It feels so good to see Walsh jam open the lexicon – and with such dry wit . . . No one else has her particular copy of the dictionary.’

Joanna Kavenna
The Guardian

‘Reality is comically unreliable in Walsh’s stories . . . [she] toys with notions of realism versus fantasy and autobiography versus fiction. She exposes, and revels in, the absurdity of these boundaries, their indistinctness. Her clever, self-parodying stories capture the existential disarrangement of the writer, but also the existential disarrangement of anyone who finds real life strange and, at times, quite unreal.’

Eithne Farry
The Daily Mail

‘Joanna Walsh’s stories are playful and perplexing, delighting in wordplay and sly little puns.’

Andrew Gallix
The Irish Times

‘In Worlds From the Word’s End . . . Eve rolls back Adam’s enterprise of linguistic imperialism. There is a great deal of wordplay, but it is never gratuitous . . . Puns burrow rabbit-holes into the unconscious of language, the text seems to become self-generative.’

Rosie Šnajdr
The Times Literary Supplement

‘Walsh explores the uneasy coexistence of manifest and implied meaning . . . Even in the title lurks the danger of failed communication, with “word” and “world” being so visually similar that the unwary reader is liable to skate over the fault, falling into an auto-corrective trap that masks the dangerous truth of the matter.’

Jude Cook
The Spectator

‘The teasing title of Joanna Walsh’s new collection, Worlds From the Word’s End, prepares the reader for the dexterous and subversive linguistic games within . . . What’s not said says everything. Ludic, contrarian, wry, sometimes savage, these associative vignettes stimulate and inspire.’

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

‘Unsparingly observant and disconcertingly sharp . . . an eerily matter-of-fact chronicle of our own impending doom.’

Hernán Díaz
Publishers Weekly, Favorite Books of 2017

Worlds from the Word’s End puts narrative conventions and linguistic codes under great stress, and we finish the book feeling both have cracked here and there. We also feel, strangely, that Walsh’s private language has somehow become ours, as if we were suddenly fluent in a tongue we didn’t even know existed.’

Yuri Herrera

‘Joanna Walsh is clever, funny and merciless. She abducts people from their apparently normal lives and confronts them with the fact that dystopia is not a place in the future but a room in their own house.’

Sara Baume

‘Terrifyingly perceptive, subversively hilarious – these stories are part Daniil Kharms, part-Lydia Davis – while also managing to be singularly Joanna Walsh; how her writing always manages to make everything else I read (and write) seem specious and frivolous.’

Dubravka Ugrešić, author of Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

Worlds from the Word’s End is an anti-mainstream collection. Joanna Walsh’s thick, blurred and claustrophobic worlds deal with deconstruction, estrangement, silence and the disappearance of common language. This is unconventional writing that is going to enchant unconventional readers.’

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