One Minute With: Mark Billingham, crime writer
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Friday 20 April 2012
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in a club in the West End [of London] staring out of the window, wondering if it's going to rain.
What are you currently reading?
'The Good Father' by Noah Hawley. I just got it and I'm really enjoying it so far. It's about an American whose son appears to have shot a presidential candidate. It's an examination of conspiracy theories and political assassinations.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Laura Lippman, who is notionally a thriller or crime writer. I personally hate the term "transcending the genre" but if there's someone who does it, it's her. James Lee Burke, George Pelecanos, Daniel Woodrell, are also writers who I think are raising the bar in this area.
Describe the room where you usually write
An office in my home in which I'm surrounded by the strange nonsense I collect: old curios, dolls heads, a stuffed puffin, a beaver's skull, bits of Victorian taxidermy. There's a computer in there as well.
What distracts you from writing?
Which fictional character most resembles you?
The character who most affected me was Sherlock Holmes. It's the character you remember, not the stories. He's still the archetypal detective.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Smart and loyal. You can't pull the wool over their eyes. They can sniff out shoddy goods but they're very passionate when you write something they enjoy.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Steve Bull [a footballer] who played for Wolverhampton and for England in the 1980s. He had the choice to go to a club in Italy but chose to stay in Wolverhampton. You don't see that loyalty any more.
Mark Billingham's 'Sleepyhead', is one of 25 titles to be given out by 20,000 givers around the UK for World Book Night 2012 on 23 April
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils