One Minute With: Nikita Lalwani, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm sitting outside Archway library in north London, in the pit by the roundabout, just past a fruit'n'veg stall... , lots of sun, a blaring pawn shop opposite.

What are you currently reading?

Slow Man by J M Coetzee. It's full of the trademark Coetzee minimalism, heartbreakingly mortal in this one, though; much more fragile than usual.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

James Salter. It's not really the stuff he writes about - he veers from... machismo to a very grand domesticity. It's the beauteous prose style... just shining like a new dime, as they say.

Describe the room where you normally write

My local pub which opens, usefully, at 9am. Big space full of empty tables and outsize shabby lamps, wood floods, bar at one end from which I get coffee and lime sodas.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Probably someone from a Pedro Almodóvar film, yes? Unnecessarily intense, unintentionally amusing.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I admire unsung activists who use a mixture of anger and optimism to change the boundaries of people's lives. For example, Santosh Samal of the Dalit Foundation.

Nikita Lalwani's new novel, 'The Village', is published by Viking