One minute with: Chuck Palahniuk, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in a bed at Hazlitt's Hotel (in central London) and I can see a brick wall right ouside my window.

What are you currently reading?

A huge pre-publication manuscript about William Burroughs, 'Call My Burroughs' (by Barry Miles). I like it ... [I think] every love story is a ghost story. I'm also reading a biography of David Foster Wallace. I love reading about other writers whose lives are more f*cked up than mine.

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

I would say [the American short story writer] Amy Hempel because she does not dictate the emotional reactions that she wants. She allows the reader to have his or her own reactions.

Describe the room where you usually write

I usually write in my kitchen which is a large, octagonal room that looks into woods – three big windows look out into the trees.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

There was a series of children's books that still sell well in America about a smart little kid named Encyclopedia Brown. I wanted to be him so bad.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

For a long time I would have said Lance Armstrong.

Chuck Palahniuk's latest novel, 'Doomed', is published by Jonathan Cape