Emma Healey, novelist: One minute interview

Emma Healey's debut novel, 'Elizabeth is Missing', is shortlisted for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2015

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm curled up on the big armchair in my sitting room, and my partner, Andy, is on the settee opposite, restringing one of his 12 guitars (he collects them).

What are you currently reading?

I'm embarrassed to say I'm only just now reading Claire Fuller's Our Endless Numbered Days. I had a proof with me in Australia and am ashamed to admit I lost it during jetlag-induced confusion, so am catching up now. It's really excellent.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

Penelope Fitzgerald. She never fails to surprise, her language is clever and elegant, her settings unusual, her characters unpredictable, and I am always caught out by a line or moment which makes me laugh out loud or suddenly see the world differently.

Describe the room where you usually write

I have a study at the back of the house, overlooking our garden. It's tiny, just wide enough to fit my desk in, the walls are covered with pin boards and art postcards from galleries all over the world including Tate, MoMA, and Lenbachhaus.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Um, Pippi Longstocking? She has red hair too, though I never had the courage to be quite as naughty or anti-establishment as she is.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I really admire Ana Mendieta. She was a Cuban American artist who died the year I was born and whose work examines violence, feminism, and belonging. Her art is always brave and visually arresting, and vibrates with meaning.

Emma Healey's debut novel, 'Elizabeth is Missing', is shortlisted for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2015

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