One Minute With: Francine Stock, broadcaster & novelist
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 30 September 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm just outside the American Embassy, where I've been applying for a visa as I'm going to interview Woody Allen in Manhattan.
What are you currently reading?
'Romantic Moderns' by Alexandra Harris, which I love. I'm fascinated by the 1930s. It's a crucible for what happens both during the war and after.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
I like writers who creep up on you by stealth; someone like Kazuo Ishiguro, where you feel you've fallen under a spell. Or in Alice Munro's stories, when the rug is pulled from under your feet.
Describe the room where you usually write
In a Georgian house, on the first floor, and south-facing – so lots of sun. It's an extremely crooked room. I work at a table that's on a slant.
What distracts you from writing?
Frankly, almost anything can distract me. The internet, of course – when you disappear down the rabbit hole of an enquiry.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
When I was was a teenager, I identified very strongly with Antigone in Jean Anouilh's play. I thought: "She is me". But then I decided that she's such a pain in the arse – she's so hard on everybody. Now, I wonder if I haven't become quite like her. She's so demanding of the people close to her.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
[With my novels] I was so touched and surprised when people found things in them that I hadn't realised I'd put there.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
I admire people who excelled at one thing but applied themselves with fantastic discipline to something else. For instance, when I studied Latin and read Horace, I found out he knew so much about farming.
Francine Stock's 'In Glorious Technicolor: a century of film and how it has shaped us' is published by Chatto & Windus. Buy it now from The Independent's bookshop.
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Pirelli calendar 2015: The problem with 'plus-size' models like Candice Huffine
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being an 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie confirmed to enter jungle
Drawn Blank: Bob Dylan exhibition showcases the musician's bold and vibrant paintings
G20 summit: Enter Putin. Accompanied by four warships. To the sound of mockery
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
David Cameron 'compares Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany' ahead of tense meeting
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine