One Minute With: Barbara Trapido

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I was writing in the attic of my house (in Oxford) and now I'm half way down the stairs.

What are you currently reading?

That fabulous book, Parisians, by Graham Robb. I heard two extracts on the radio and I was seduced. Also, I recently read Maggie O'Farrell's new novel.

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

There are about a thousand people I could mention but I think Michèle Roberts has the best writing of femaleness, in the way that you completely relate to the way she writes about china, the insides of houses, food. I find that alluring.

Describe the room where you usually write

Curled up in a chair or in bed with a cup of coffee, or I make endless corrections in my attic study, which is a nice little nest at the top of our tall house. I don't do much in the way of typing so I write with oily biro pens, or record myself and scribble it out again.

What distracts you from writing?

I'm readily distracted in the day. I wrote my first novel by staying awake when everyone had gone to bed. Now I get up early - about 4 or 5am - and write at a time when nothing distracts me. In the day, I chatter in cafés, mooch in shops, or eat sweets in my pyjamas.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

All sorts when I was young. Now, some useless dysfunctional person.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I love meeting readers and they make some surprising observations. One woman said every time I have a character I really love, their name begins with a 'J'. Maybe it's true!

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Helen Bamber who runs a Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, and Shirley Williams is a person I have always admired.

Barbara Trapido's 'Sex & Stravinsky' is published by Bloomsbury