One Minute With: Michael Arditti

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my Primrose Hill sitting room gazing out of the window at the latest renovations in the mews. There are lots of builders putting up a children's playground on the roof of one of the houses across from mine.

What are you currently reading?

Fred Roden's new edition of Julian of Norwich, the female mystic. It expertly bridges the gap between the medieval and the modern mind.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Well, I'm split into two: Part Pierre Bezukhov from Tolstoy's War and Peace; and part Saki's Clovis. I'm like Pierre, I hope, because of his amiability and openness, his desire for the truth, his hero-worshipping and his sometimes clumsy intentions. I'm like Clovis because of his slightly anarchic nature, his wickedness and impatience of fools.

What distracts you from writing?


Choose a favourite author and say whaT you like about her/him?

It would have to be Fyodor Dostoevsky. I suppose it's the integrity of his spiritual quest and the intensity of his prose.

Describe the room where you usually write

I have a back problem so I work in bed. For this there are eminent precedents and very few distractions. It's just a bedroom.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Sensitive, serious, open minded and well-informed.

Who is your hero or heroine from outside literature?

The Pierre side of me would say John Wycliffe and the Clovis side would say Cole Porter.

Michael Arditti's novel 'The Enemy of the Good' is published by Arcadia.