One Minute With: Frank Cottrell Boyce, 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 the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Friday 09 December 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my office at the top of my house [on Merseyside] and I can see the grey skies coming in from the Irish coast.
What are you currently reading?
'Epigraph of a Small Winner' by Machado de Assis. It's a 19th-century Brazilian comedy, really funny but very different.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Chekhov because he kept getting better. He noticed the tiny little things in life in his stories, and he didn't cut himself off or take himself off somewhere [to write] in the middle of his life. He was very involved with his family, where he lived, and humanitarian projects.
Describe the room where you usually write
Today, it's a small, disorganised room full of piles of books, with photos and drawings by my [seven] children on the wall. The room I usually write in is the quiet coach of a Virgin train. I'm on trains a lot and I do my best writing on them.
What distracts you from writing?
Absolutely everything and anyone who wants to distract me.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I always wanted to be [the anti-authority character] Snufkins from the Moomin books [by Tove Jansson] but I think somehow I turned into Moominpappa.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
They are usually in school uniform and always ask brilliant questions.... they are genuinely amazing. If you write for children, you find that they will ask the most intense, mad things, like "what am I going to do about my dog?"
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
I know a priest called Father Peter Morgan who works with refugees and he is always smiling, joking, and laughing in spite of the massive set of problems on his hands.
Frank Cottrell Boyce's 'The Unforgotten Coat' (Walker Books) is shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Children's Book Award
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear trio returns with a blend of fireworks, AC/DC and 'automotive pornography'
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland