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One Minute With: Phillipa Gregory, historical novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

In my study looking out of my window which faces the North York moors. I can see an unending sea of green leaves: a tossing willow tree, grass, fresh heather, distant firs, and a grey sky fat with rain clouds.

What are you currently reading?

WG Sebald, 'Austerlitz', and Paul Scott, 'The Jewel in the Crown'.

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

Joanne Greenburg, a relatively unknown modern American author who manages to capture the ordinariness and the extremes of everyday life with an unpretentious style and total conviction.

Describe the room where you usually write

It is the former sitting-room of a little farmhouse, so it is low and beamed.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

The ones that I write are most like me. Hannah in 'The Queen's Fool', for bookishness and uncertainty, or Elizabeth Woodville in 'The White Queen', for dreaminess and luck.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Mary Wollstonecraft, who believed in a life of thought and feeling and tried to live it.

Philippa Gregory's 'The King-maker's Daughter', is published by Simon & Schuster