One Minute With: John Simpson
Friday 19 March 2010
Where are you now and what can you see?
At home, lying on my bed and looking at a really attractive painting that my wife got in South Africa of a street corner which is very resonant.
What are you currently reading?
I've just this morning finished Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Court of the Red Tsar. It's one of those books that gives many new insights into people I had nothing but contempt for.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you like her/him
The author I turn back to is George Eliot. It's comfortable reading her. Part of it is knowing the ending.
Describe the room where you usually write
In a corner of our sitting room. I only seem to be able to write with a giant heap of paper and books around me. It draws criticism from my nearest.
What distracts you from writing?
My wonderul boy who, when I'm at the most intense bit of writing, will want me to watch a DVD with him.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
One of those broken down Graham Greene characters, who have betrayed everyone and are taking too much drink. I'm not a betrayer and I don't drink too much but I'm a little bit frayed.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
I'm rather humbled by them.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
I have a sense that people are not heroes all the way through but at a historical moment, there are people who behave absolutely rightly. An old man during the 1979 Iranian revolution spoke to troops in bulldozers who'd come to knock down Persepolis. He told them there were sacred pictures in the city and they went away. He was there at a key historical moment.
John Simpson's new book 'Unreliable Sources' is published by Macmillan
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year