One Minute With: Nick Harkaway, novelist
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 27 January 2012
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my bedroom, which is in the basement of our house [in Hampstead]. I can see my laptop, and a red-and-blue tea-cosy.
What are you currently reading?
I've just received Tim Willocks's 'The Religion', and I have my eye on a proof of 'The Teleportation Accident' by Ned Beauman. And I'm reading 'Passages from the Life of a Philosopher' by [the mathematician, engineer and computer pioneer] Charles Babbage – which is absolutely hilarious. He was a man with no shame about self-promotion.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Alexandre Dumas. I return to him over and over again: 'The Count of Monte Cristo' and 'The Three Musketeers'. Splendid adventures – Byzantine, strange and eminently readable.
Describe the room where you usually write
I work in our living-room, a strange room in a strange topsy-turvy house. I work underneath this enormous bookshelf.
What distracts you from writing?
Almost nothing. When the time comes to work, I work.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I used desperately to want to be a brooding hero from literature, but I'm optimistic, healthy and fair-haired. In terms of personality, I'm more Porthos [from 'The Three Muskteers'] than Aramis.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Great. My books are written from the heart, to entertain: they're books I would like to read. Because of that, when I meet people who like them, we have so much to talk about!
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
The women of Bletchley Park [the code-breaking centre], who did all that amazing work, did it in total silence, and never told. It's a story to break your heart.
Nick Harkaway's novel 'Angelmaker' is published next week by Heinemann
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd