Currently they are three American women: Annie Proulx, Lorrie Moore and Elisabeth Strout
2.Who has had a major influence on your writing?
My father made me see what writing was very early. I still think writing communicates better than anything else.
3.Can you name at least one book that you never finished?
War and Peace. In the end I lost interest and I got hopelessly confused with all those crazy names. I guess I prefer my wars and peaces to be less Russian.
4.What word or words do you always have trouble spelling?
But there are so many! Phlegm, minuscule and rhythm to name a few. See, now I had to look them all up!
5.What three adjectives best describe you?
Quiet, private, occasionally funny.
6.Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
Well, Uncle Kev has a certain sanguine charm and I do love Edie, she is sweet and trusting and a total dag, but then, Juliet’s daring is intoxicating. The gorgeous Grace has just so much wisdom. And Ted, what can you say about Ted? For some of us, it’s just harder. I love them all, no matter how they behave.
7.Which author would you invite to dinner?
Annie Proulx. I’d get the barbie going and do her a steak (medium rare) and baked potatoes, maybe a little salad and we’d sit out under the stars and talk about sentences, stories and characters until the mozzies got too fierce and we had to retreat inside. Then, for dessert, we’d talk about naming characters. What a night!
8.Where do you write?
In my study, which is full of books, saggy furniture and two Labradors who are my darlings.
9.When do you write?
I write best when the house is quiet, but since everyone is out all day, that works. I play music when I write, usually something quiet and soft, without words that I play hundreds of times. It takes me to the right place. The dogs sleep right through.
10.What makes you happy?
A good sentence lifts my heart. My family, my dogs and my cat. Also, Eskimo Pies are eternally unbeatable.
11.What do you most fear?
That something will happen to my family.
12.What is your favorite vice?
I love cake far too much for my own good.
13.What is the quality you most like in yourself?
14.What are the qualities you most like in your friends?
A sense of humour, intelligence and reasonableness.
15.Would you be lying if you said your works were not autobiographical?
Yes. There must be part of the author in fiction, without it, the book wouldn’t have its soul. But it’s such a boring mistake to assume that novels are just disguised autobiography. The art of fiction is the blend of fact and imaginings and the writing is the magic that makes it work.
16.What part of your personality do you detest?
Why do I hate exercise so much?
17.What is your favorite adjective?
Look, I admit, I may have been be overly fond of ‘luminous’. These little addictions are there to be beaten.
18.What is your favorite book?
‘The Man Who Loved Children’ by Christina Stead. She seemed to me to invent something in that book that I needed to read, a way of describing the gulf between parents and kids.
19.What book would you read three times?
Olive Kitteridge’ by Elisabeth Strout is wonderful. As soon as I finished it I read it again. It’s about a funny kind of woman, part-angel, part-grouch. She’s one of the great characters.
20.To whom would you award the Nobel Prize for Literature and why?
To the Canadian author, Alice Munro. Her work has been consistently magnificent. She makes me understand what it is to be alive, to be human and her writing is the purest thing. She is such a hero.