"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Author Archive
Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans’ riotously comic Crooked Heart tells the story of bright ten-year-old orphan Noel Bostock, who is evacuated to St Albans from London to escape the Blitz. He is taken under the wing of sharp, unscrupulous Vera Sedge who, as soon as she claps eyes on Noel, hits on a flagrant new way to make...
David Nicholls steps up

David Nicholls steps up

I meet David Nicholls for coffee at his house one weekday morning. We talk about Henry James and he tells me that he read Portrait of a Lady last year. The novel obviously had an impact on him as he quotes from it in his latest, rather wonderful novel, Us. I want to get to...
Nina Stibbe: Out of the box

Nina Stibbe: Out of the box

Nina Stibbe’s first book Love, Nina, a collection of letters written when she was a nanny in the 198os, was the surprise publishing hit of 2013. Andrew O’Hagan called her “The funniest new writer to arrive in years.” In Love, Nina she mentions writing a (semi-autobiographical) novel as part of her polytechnic course. After the...
Straight-talking Sadie Jones

Straight-talking Sadie Jones

There is no doubt that Sadie Jones is a generous-spirited woman. I get lost on my way to her house in Chiswick but when I arrive, flustered, instead of being cross that I’ve kept her waiting, she sweetly asks what kind of coffee I’d like, pointing at a complicated-looking machine. Coffee made, we settle down...
Kerry Hudson: Love and need

Kerry Hudson: Love and need

Kerry Hudson’s award-winning debut novel Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma drew partly on her experiences of growing up on estates and in B&Bs. Her second, Thirst, is about Alena, a woman sex-trafficked from Siberia, and Dave, a security guard who catches her shoplifting. When I meet Hudson for...
Rebecca Hunt: Poles apart

Rebecca Hunt: Poles apart

Rebecca Hunt is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, never mind interviewed. Her incredibly poised debut novel Mr Chartwell was published when she was 31 (she’s now 34), and sold in ten countries. Also longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, she could frankly be excused for taking herself very seriously indeed. But...
Sheila Heti talks unpretty

Sheila Heti talks unpretty

Sheila Heti’s most recent novel How Should a Person Be? is a book that’s not afraid of appearing ugly, either aesthetically or morally. There is even a chapter called ‘Sheila Throws Her Shit’. Its writer, however, has a generous spirit, a sincere belief in the importance of art and that same mixture of confidence and...
Anna Whitwham: Boxing clever

Anna Whitwham: Boxing clever

I’m late to meet Anna Whitwham, and as I rush into the appointed café, I spy a familiar-looking blonde woman tapping away at a laptop. We stare at each other. This must be Anna, I think. It’s actually Rachel Johnson who once wrote a book called Notting Hell, and Anna Whitwham is sat quietly behind...
Elizabeth Jane Howard backwards

Elizabeth Jane Howard backwards

I had worried that meeting Elizabeth Jane Howard might be a slightly melancholy experience. Whilst her novels have sold in their millions and she counts Hilary Mantel among her fans, she has never quite received the acclaim she deserves. In spite of this and the fact that at 90 she is now quite frail, there...
Eleanor Catton: Eyes wide open

Eleanor Catton: Eyes wide open

I meet Eleanor Catton in the Langham Hotel straight after her Woman’s Hour debut and the day before the Booker shortlist announcement. I have a feeling that her second and most recent novel, The Luminaries, will be on the shortlist and I also have a feeling that she already knows whether it is or not....