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 I'm staring at a drawing that Marc Boxer did for one of the Anthony Powell novels – an unpublished front-cover illustration that I managed to buy from a London picture-dealer around 16 years ago.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)
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
These Harry Potter lipsticks are sparking all sorts of controversy with Hogwarts fans
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
First look at Michael Fassbender as ‘Callum’ in the Assassin’s Creed movie
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs