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 I'm staring at a drawing that Marc Boxer did for one of the Anthony Powell novels – an unpublished front-cover illustration that I managed to buy from a London picture-dealer around 16 years ago.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)
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians