Author Interview with Emily Priest

Emily Priest is a freelance writer and performance poet, author of her debut poetry book ‘Nicotine and Napalm’ published in 2019. Emily performed her first poetry reading in 2016 in Portsmouth since then she has recited poetry in countless venues.

‘This collection of prose and poetry is one woman’s account of growing up in the modern world and her own discovery of sexuality, strength and weakness.”

nicotine and napalm flowers

Emily Priest

Let’s start with a brief introduction?

My name is Emily Priest, I’m 22 and I’m, as you guessed it, a writer. I was born in Southampton but now live in Portsmouth and have just graduated University with a first class honors in Creative Writing. I am also a performance poet and have performed my poems globally including destinations such as New York.  I’m outgoing and love to live life to its fullest.

What other hobbies do you do outside of writing?

I’m really into video games and can’t get enough of them whether they are fighting games or RPG’s like Sekiro and Dark Souls which are my favourites at the moment.

What year(s) are your poems from ‘Nicotine and Napalm’ from?

I created the poems from Nicotine and Napalm over about 9 years from ages 13 to 22. So, they range from 2010 to 2019.

Do you read other people’s poetry? If so, who is your favourite?

I read so much poetry! I absolutely love it but some of my favourites (can’t pick one I’m afraid) include Bukowski, Tempest, Lorca, and McNish.

Are you working on another poetry book?

Not at the moment. Writing Nicotine and Napalm took a lot out of me physically and emotionally so I’m working on a few new projects which include a feature film titled ‘Hamartia’ and a travel writing book focusing on Japan.

What other styles of writing do you do?

Alongside poetry, I also write about food and travel which includes recipes, travelogues, and blogs.  I publish them all online at my website

What is your thought process like when you are writing a poem?

I don’t really think when I do the actual writing. Instead, I like to feel and hone in on my emotions. I ask myself “what am I feeling right now?” and I will meditate on that and translate that to the page. I will then refine this in the editing stage but, when I’m writing, I like to just focus on what I want the reader to relate to.

What 3 words would you use to describe your own poetry?

Unforgiving. Unflinching. Unapologetic.

My favourite poem from ‘Nicotine and Napalm’ is ‘I, the shipwreck’, I can relate a lot to it and it’s very beautifully written. What is your favourite poem in your new book?

Thank you! I love that one too but my favourite is ‘Even When the Winter Comes’. It is one of my most recent poems and I find that it is the most professionally crafted in terms of metaphors and similes. It is also a lovely poem for me to read and write because of the happy connotations and sense of hope. I love my other pieces however they can be a bit hard to swallow sometimes and don’t give me the same reading experience.

What advice would you give to other young aspiring writers?

Be true to yourself and stop being afraid. There is nothing worse than unauthentic writing, just made to please people. Do what you want to do and it will be brilliant. It doesn’t matter if people hate it. All that matters is if you like it and that you are following your dreams. That feeling is priceless.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? What would you like to have accomplished?

In the next 5 years, I would like to have published a few other books, one on travel and another on poetry, possibly one about food, and I would like to open my own marketing or publishing company. I haven’t thought too much about the future as I like to see where the road takes me but I do know one thing for sure – I want to make a difference, one way or another.

What is your favourite book and why?

This is the worst question to ask a writer! It is so difficult to pick just one but ONE of my favourites would be Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  The first time I read this book was the first time I truly felt for a book. I was struck with intense grief and sorrow, just like the characters, and that was the moment I realized the true power of writing. I couldn’t go back after that.

What is your favourite quote and why?

“Find what you love and let it kill you” – It’s a quote by Charles Bukowski and I actually have it tattooed on my arm because I love it so much. It might seem a bit macabre but I interpret it as living life to the full, doing everything out of love even if it may kill you – whether that’s skydiving or something else. Live life out of love, not fear.

If you were stranded on Desert Island, what three things would you take with you?

  1. Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 – Haven’t read it yet and it’s large enough to entertain me for a few days.
  2. Note pad and pen – Technically two items but you can’t have one without the other right? I am sure I would get plenty of inspiration on a desert island and we can’t let that go to waste.
  3. Penknife – Reading and writing are all well and good but I still need to survive.

Read my review of Nicotine and Napalm here!

You can also buy your copy of Emily’s debut poetry book here!

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If you would like me to review your novel or interview you, then don’t hesitate to email me at


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