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.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer sees Katniss lead rebellion against the Capitol
The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman unveiled
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace