One Minute With: Amanda Foreman, historian
Friday 27 May 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in the top-floor office of my home in west London – and I can see into somebody's bedroom across the garden.
What are you currently reading?
'Surface Detail' by Iain M Banks. I feel that he's returned to form. I'm really happy that [his utopian society] The Culture is back – and the humour is back!
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Colm Tóibín. When I read 'The Master', I felt that I had read a true classic. It's so rare nowadays that you have that feeling: it was a privilege to read it.
Describe the room where you usually write
It's a 12-by-12 study that is so crammed with books from floor to ceiling that my children have to step over the piles to get to me. It has a view into a lightwell, and once a day the sun hits the window and a ray of light bounces off into my study.
What distracts you from writing?
The internet: reading news stories. I try to limit what I see.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I think that once you become a parent you cease to think of yourself as a hero or heroine. When I was in my twenties, I strongly identified with Jane Austen's 'Emma' – her human failings mixed with a desire to do good.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
I'm always impressed by them – and I always like them. If we lived in the same town or village, I'd be very happy to be their friend.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Jean McConville. She's one of the IRA's "disappeared" – a Catholic widowed mother of 10 [secretly murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1972]. She lost her life simply for doing what she thought was right. I want her suffering and her sacrifice to be recognised. I think there should be a memorial garden for her.
Amanda Foreman's 'A World on Fire' is published in paperback by Penguin
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 line-up: Meet the contestants from Lauren Goodger to Kellie Maloney and Audley Harrison
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians