One Minute With: Frank Westerman, travel writer/ historian


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see? I'm in the Dutch "highlands". No windmills but beautiful "Ruysdael" clouds drifting over.

What are you currently reading? 'Saharan Journey' by Sven Lindqvist.

Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) for his eloquent and brave voice in the Soviet era... the best Russian writer of the 20th century.

Describe the room where you usually write I write my books sitting at my "Russian" desk, possibly a piece of war booty, since I bought it in Moscow from the daughter of a late Red Army colonel.

Which fictional character most resembles you? Dvanov. "At the age of seventeen Dvanov still had no calluses on his soul, nor any belief in God or things that put the mind at ease; he gave no names of his own to the nameless life that revealed itself to him." A quote from Platonov's 'Chevengur': the motto of my book 'Engineers of the Soul'.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature? Yuri Gagarin, reporting back to us: "The Earth is blue."

Frank Westerman took part in European Literature Night at the British Library; his book, 'Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse', is published by Harvill Secker