One Minute With: Jennifer Clement, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

 It's eight in the morning. I am in a Mexican village called Tepoztlan. Outside my window I look onto a patio where there is a jacaranda tree, a green and yellow parrot in a cage and a lizard lying in a streak of sun. From a nearby school I can hear the sound of a trumpet and children singing the national anthem.

What are you currently reading?

Ismail Kadare's novel Doruntine.

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

As the best daily horoscope I've ever read in a newspaper regarding my sign stated, "Sometimes your favourite things are not your favourite things."

Describe the room where you usually write

Above my writing desk, which is a large, oak antique kitchen table, there is mask that my father found on an archaeological dig in the 1960's. The room has books everywhere. There is always a bottle of tequila or mescal next to the atlas and chocolate in a drawer.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I don't know if I resemble her but I get inside of her, wear her like a dress. It would be Janie, from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I'm always in love with Tea Cake, I always have to kill him and I'm always watching God.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie. I've written about both of them.

Jennifer Clement's latest novel, 'Prayers for the Stolen', is published by Hogarth. She will be in discussion at the Hay festival on Tuesday 27 May at 4pm. For more details visit