One Minute With: Anna Stothard, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

 In the basement of a café on Old Compton Street in Soho, London. I can see a Japanese man on his laptop and a pink-haired teenager drawing.

What are you currently reading?

'A Sport and a Pastime' by James Salter, a carnal love story set in 1950s France, given to me by a friend in New York.

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

Margaret Atwood is my all-time favourite, for her dazzling imagination. I once had my bag stolen... because I was so engrossed in 'Oryx and Crake'.

Describe the room where you usually write

This Soho café steals quite a bit of my time. I started coming here because my novel, 'The Art of Leaving', is set in Soho. It's not a particularly nice place at all... but I put earphones in and can concentrate for hours.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Alice in Wonderland. Perplexed but steady.

Who is your hero/ heroine from outside literature?

Austrian traveller Ida Laura Pfeiffer, brought up as a tomboy in the early 19th century. From journeys through the deserts of Mesopotania to being arrested in Russia for being a spy... she rocked.

Anna Stothard's new novel is 'The Art of Leaving' (Alma Books)