One Minute With: Sara Wheeler, travel writer, biographer


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am lying on crumbs from my sons' breakfast toast and I can see the skeletons of plane trees swaying against a pale blue sky.

What are you currently reading?

Flannery O'Connor's short stories, 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'. Loving it.

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

Willa Cather. She makes the black earth of a vanished Nebraska live again and the very best of her novels slip the shackles of their period and enter the immortal zone.

Describe the room where you usually write

I live in a Victorian former butcher's and write in the small room above the shop where the butcher dismembered his carcasses. It has a fireplace, and all my shoes arranged around the skirting.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Lucy Glitters from RS Surtees's 'Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour' – a reprobate through and through.

Who is your hero/ heroine from outside literature?

I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer a lot. More dignity than I could muster in a thousand lifetimes, and his inspirational ideas live on.

'O My America! Second acts in a new world' by Sara Wheeler is published by Jonathan Cape. Get money off it at the Independent bookshop, here.