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One Minute With: Salley Vickers, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

I am in Cambridge looking out at the lovely gardens of my old college Newnham, waiting for a student to show me her work.

What are you currently reading?

Allan Massie's excellent book about the Stuarts; 'The Way the World Works' by Nicholson Baker - a voice of sanity and courage… and I am re-reading Samuel Schoenbaum's... life of Shakespeare. He's very sane, gives you all the legendary guff and then calmly debunks it.

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

Shakespeare but, nearer to home, Marilynne Robinson... Everything she writes feels true to the bone.

Describe the room where you usually write

High up with a view across London to Canary Wharf and the Shard... birds wheeling in the sky to take me into other worlds.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Mole in 'The Wind in the Willows'

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Gandhi for one; Desmond Tutu another; Anne Frank… and I have a very great fondness for Socrates. In other words, people who stand up, without violence, for freedom of expression.

Salley Vickers's 'The Cleaner of Chartres' is published by Viking