One Minute With: Eowyn Ivey, novelist
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books, 2013, and is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and the Independent Scholastic New Children's Prize 2014.
Friday 10 February 2012
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my daughter's bedroom [in Alaska] and it's pitch dark outside. I can see our outside porch light, deep snow and black, black sky.
What are you currently reading?
'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris, which is about an office workplace. I'm actually re-reading it for my book club. It's very funny and very good. Also 'Lions of the West' by Robert Morgan, about explorers in the US who ventured West. He's one of my favourite writers and he looks at the psychology of why people explore new territory. It pertains to the next book I'm working on, about adventurer-explorers in Alaska.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
It's hard because I have so many but one of my top ones is Louise Erdrich. She has such a poetic voice and her novels look at both what is beautiful and very hard about life.
Describe the room where you usually write
It's a closet that I had converted into an office. There's lots of books stacked all over the floor. It's unfinished so the walls aren't painted and there's a bare light bulb hanging, so it's not aesthetic but it doesn't matter when I start writing.
What distracts you from writing?
Lots of fun things I like to do, and lots of things I have to do. Annoying sounds, too, and I have good hearing.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
Probably Mary from 'Little House on the Prairie', who always did what she was supposed to. I wish I was more like her sister, Laura, who was mischievous and adventurous.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Very different types of people from 17-year-olds to people who are 70.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Fannie Quigley, an Alaskan who was very adventurous. She lived by herself in the 1920s and 1930s, grew her own vegetables, had no fear, and didn't seem to care what anyone thought of what she was doing.
Eowyn Ivey's debut novel, 'The Snow Child', is published by Headline Review
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