One Minute With: Helen Dunmore, novelist
Friday 23 December 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my workplace and looking out at a band of storm coming in over the Mendips.
What are you currently reading?
A new edition of some of Coleridge's poems, introduced by James Fenton. I've been writing a story about Coleridge so I've been dipping into the poems over and over again.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Derek Mahon because of one particular poem which I love called 'A Disused Shed in County Wicklow'. It's very searching about the human condition and very political in a non-polemical way. It has a wonderful music, that's the main thing about it.
Describe the room where you usually write
The key thing is the view. It's very high up and you can see for miles and miles – probably about 12 miles in both directions. When I think of where I work, I think of what I see.
What distracts you from writing?
Distraction is all to do with avoiding starting, but once I've begun I'm very hard to distract. It's a question of prowling around the work before settling into it.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I'd like to say it is some wonderful heroine but no, I think it's Mole from 'The Wind in The Willows'. He's not very adventurous but then he goes on a great adventure, he loves his friends - he is slightly ridiculous as well. We'd all like to think we were grand fictional characters but probably it's our absurdities which are the most characteristic things about us.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Meeting children can be moving as they completely give themselves to the story... adults hold back a lot more.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
The older I grow, the more I admire the everyday heroes - the people who never really receive applause but endure great difficulties with fortitude and grace.
Helen Dunmore's new children's novel, 'Stormswept', is published by HarperCollins Children's Books
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget