One Minute With: Nick Harkaway, novelist
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
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
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians