One Minute With: Lesley Lokko

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm walking down the Euston Road (in London) and I can see lots of hot, sweaty people and traffic and I'm thinking longingly of Johannesburg, where I'm returning today.

What are you currently reading?

Amos Oz's Rhyming Life and Death and also David Malouf's The Great World.

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

Nadine Gordimer. A lot of people read her as a political writer but I just love the way she uses language. It's so muscular and amazing.

Describe the room where you usually write

I have been writing in Accra in Ghana, which is where I live for part of the year. It's an open-plan house which I designed myself - in my previous life I was an architect.

What distracts you from writing?

At the moment, it's my boyfriend who lives in Germany.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I grew up in Ghana where I read novels like Shirley Conran's Lace and I related to those girls who were slightly chubby, had never had a boyfriend but succeeded against the odds.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I meet them virtually through the Web and they are from all over the globe, which is wonderful. They are mostly women who say they enjoy womeone who writes about Africa in a slightly different way.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

It would have to be a composite of people; the grace of Barack Obama, the humility and strength of Nelson Mandela, the vision of Nkrumah and the body of Angelina Jolie.

Lesley Lokko's novel, 'Rich Girl Poor Girl', is published by Orion.