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.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
After Sam Smith’s Mobo success, is the help of a pushy parent the surest route to stardom?
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts