Louisa Young: One Minute Interview


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

 I am at my desk. Straight ahead I can see a picture of Marilyn Monroe reading ‘Ulysses’, my Galaxy Award, some pain killers, a guitar chord chart, a card from The Swan and Railway – a pub in Wigan – photos of my dead boyfriend, and a lot of books.

What are you currently reading?

 ‘La Parola Ebreo’ [‘First Words’], by Rosetta Loy, an account of childhood in Rome in the 1930s and 1940s, and gradually realising what fascism and anti-Semitism were. It is astounding; dispassionate and furious simultaneously. 


Who is your favourite author and why do you admire him/her?

Primo Levi, for the immense wit within all the terror, and for never losing sight of the subtleties and the humanity. I read in Italian and English together, so I can imagine that my Italian is any good, which it isn’t really. A slow process, but educational on many levels.


Describe the room where you usually write?

I write anywhere, but the one I’m writing in now is dark blue, full of dead flowers and black and white photographs and piles of clothes. The furniture is mostly polished dark brown wood, and there is a great big red velvet chair which spins round like a waltzer. It’s too cold.


Which fictional character most resembles you? 

Reepicheep [from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’].


Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

The usual: Malala, Camila Batmanghelidjh, surgeons, roadsweepers. Busy people who get things done for the good of all.

Louisa Young’s latest novel, ‘My Dear I Wanted To Tell You’, is this year’s Cityread London book for the annual literature festival launching on the 1st April.