One Minute With: Amitav Ghosh, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

 I'm in my study in Brooklyn and I can see a construction site out of the window.

What are you currently reading?

I'm re-reading Maurice Collis's 'Into Hidden Burma' from the 1930s. People don't read him very much now but he's a wonderful writer.

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

My favourite authors change week to week. I've just finished a reading Philip Hensher's 'Scenes from Early Life', about his partner's childhood. It is distantly like Gertrude Stein's book on Alice B Toklas.

Describe the room where you usually write

I write in two rooms because I divide my time between Brooklyn and Goa. They are stacked high with books and they are incredibly messy. In Goa, the view looks towards a river.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

When I was growing up, I identified with Tintin. I love travel and he could go anywhere he wanted.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Aung San Suu Kyi. I've written at great length about her. Her patience and her willingness to work towards compromise are great contributions to modern life.

Amitav Ghosh's 'River of Smoke', is published in paperback by John Murray