Esther Freud, novelist: "I love Tobias Wolff for his elegance, thoughtfulness and inventiveness"


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in Suffolk and can see the leaves of a giant eucalyptus tree that grows outside my bedroom window.

What are you currently reading?

I just started War and Peace. I may be gone for some time!

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

I particularly love Tobias Wolff for his elegance, thoughtfulness and inventiveness.

Describe the room where you usually write

I write in a room in the middle of the house. It has two doors and I'm constantly nervous one will fly open. I used to sit at a table in front of the large window but now my desk is squeezed into a corner so I can lose myself more easily.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I laughed recently when I read Elizabeth Taylor's A View of the Harbour. There is a wonderful description of a writer – Beth Cazabon – who has "a wild and reliable source of satisfaction in her writing". The rest of her life may be in chaos but her stories are something she can control. At one point she is too busy writing about a funeral to attend one happening just round the corner.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I'm full of admiration for the late Lady Anne Tree, who campaigned for 30 years to get the law changed so that prisoners could earn and save money while locked up. She then started Fine Cell Work – a charity that teaches men in prison how to do embroidery.

Esther Freud's latest novel, 'Mr Mac and Me' is published by Bloomsbury