One Minute With: Anna Pavord, writer

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm sitting in a wooden hut in my garden, looking down a valley. It looks staggeringly lovely with hoarfrost sticking to twigs and making everything sparkle.

What are you currently reading?

'Austerity Britain' by David Kynaston. It becomes quite interesting to read about the time you were born. In a curious way, you discover what shaped you, although you were not aware of it then.

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

Living here [in Dorset], Thomas Hardy still terrifies me with that awful sense that hung over his novels. I don't want to feel Dorset is like that, but what I rate him on more is as a writer of landscape - his description of the animal nature of tree roots, that almost suffocating feeling of woodland all around you.

Describe the room where you usually write

It's the hut, which is wooden outside and planked inside which gives it a curious feeling of being in a sailing boat. I think Virginia Woolf was right when she wrote about space. That physical removal from the house really does flick a switch in my mind.

What distracts you from writing?

Mostly the garden.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I read so much more non-fiction that I don't have enough models in my mind.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I'm surprised that a lot are urban, though I'm aware that readers have different levels of space.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Professor Richard Hoggart, who was my tutor at university and who wrote 'The Uses of Literacy'. He was the first person who tried to explain that you can't read George Eliot in isolation from her time or religion, that everything connects. I've tried never to forget that, even when writing about gardening.

Anna Pavord's The Curious Gardener' is published by Bloomsbury

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