One Minute With: Jane Gardam, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

In Wimbledon, on the way home to Kent. I've just come back from a book tour in America, so I'm seeing double.

What are you currently reading?

[Mark Haddon's] 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time', and 'Her First American' by Lore Segal. It's about racism, love and New York - a most original book, which brought me happily home.

Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him

[Daniel] Defoe is my great joy. He's a great, great journalist. 'A Tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain' – I love that. And 'The Storm' – that's a great book.

Describe the room where you usually write

The house in Kent is very old, and this is one of the older rooms in it. It looks out on a garden with ancient walls on one side; on the other, the road with buses. Three desks, all chaotic, and books all around – and lots of photographs.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I do like some of the crazy girls in Jane Austen... I should very much like to be like Jane Austen herself – an extremely good person, as well as bright as a bee.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

[Explorer] Ranulph Fiennes.

Jane Gardam's latest novel is 'Last Friends' (Little, Brown)