One Minute With: Charles Saumarez Smith
Friday 28 August 2009
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm on holiday in a small cottage in the south-west corner of Anglesey. It's a good opportunity to catch up on some reading and writing.
What are you currently reading?
I'm reading a slightly turgid book about the Cambridge Apostles, and have just read E.M. Forster's The Longest Journey and E.F. Benson's David of King's.
Choose favourite author and say why you like her/him
I'm addicted to the works of the late W.G. Sebald for the way that he combines history, memory and the exploration of place.
Describe the room where you usually write
I write in a small, upstairs room, surrounded by books and looking out onto a 1960s housing estate.
What distracts you from writing?
I have more than a full-time job (as Secretary and Chief Executive) at the Royal Academy.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
There is a character in an early novel by A.N. Wilson who works at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is a student of Vanbrugh, and throws himself under a train at South Kensington station. The first two were true of me at the time.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
In general, I think writing books is like throwing a stone in a pond and you never know who reads them.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
The art historian, Michael Baxandall, who wrote Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, supervised my PhD thesis, and died almost exactly a year ago. I wrote his obituary, but didn't do him justice.
Charles Saumarez Smith will be appearing at the Throckmorton Literary Festival on Saturday 19 September.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
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- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
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Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
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Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments