One Minute With: DJ Taylor, Novelist and biographer
Friday 03 June 2011
Where are you now and what can you see? I'm standing in my front room at home in Norwich. I'm staring at a drawing that Marc Boxer did for one of the Anthony Powell novels – an unpublished front-cover illustration that I managed to buy from a London picture-dealer around 16 years ago.
What are you currently reading? The last book I set down was Thackeray's 'Pendennis' – which I'd been re-reading because it's the Thackeray bicentenary this year, and I'm writing a big piece for the 'TLS' about how different he is from Zola or Balzac.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him John Cheever. I'm convinced that the creators of 'Mad Men' – which I think is absolutely brilliant – have been reading Cheever. You could draw a Venn diagram to connect them.
Describe the room where you usually write A conventionally book-lined study. This house was built around 1898, and on the top storey are two maids' rooms. My wife Rachel [Hore, the novelist] has one study and I have the other.
What distracts you from writing? Domestic routine and, this weekend, watching my 11-year-old play sports: football, cricket, athletics...
Which fictional character most resembles you? Any one of the embittered hacks in 'New Grub Street', George Gissing's astringent vision of the late-Victorian literary marketplace.
What are your readers like when you meet them? "All sorts and conditions of men" – and women. Extraordinarily various. But: if you strew your books with allusions that you hope more sophisticated readers will detect, then some of them go mad and detect allusions that aren't there.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature? In public life it is the Labour MP Frank Field, for his maverick qualities. He has undeviatingly followed his own moral line.
DJ Taylor's new novel is 'Derby Day' (Chatto & Windus)
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 2 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 3 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, TV review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, episode 2, TV review: The affable Englishman routine is wearing a bit thin
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew