One Minute With: Sarah Gristwood, historian & novelist
Friday 17 June 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
In the garden at home, with a hideously overgrown flowerbed just in front of me. But in recompense, there's a wall of pale pink roses higher than the house off to my right.
What are you currently reading?
I've always got about five books on the go at once. At the moment it's 'English Historical Documents', the 1000-page early Tudor volume... I'm re-reading Jenny Diski's 'Skating to Antarctica', and Margery Allingham's 'The Beckoning Lady' - a very good book for June, and I love classic detective stories.
Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/ him?
Virginia Woolf, for her combination of lushness and discipline, and bravery. It's like watching a very skillful rider handling the reins of a difficult horse.
Describe the room where you usually write
Our 17th-century house has gone through many incarnations... from estate cottage to village schoolroom. But I write in an end bit tacked on by the Edwardians, when the place was used as a kind of games pavilion for the manor house nearby.
What distracts you from writing?
In a good way, my dog... now we've got Louis the Happy Hooligan, from the local Labrador Rescue. In a bad way, endless paralysing fears about nothing and everything.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
It has to be Eeyore in 'Winnie the Pooh' - wish it were Tigger.
What are you readers like when you meet them?
Terrifyingly well-informed! Because this is a first novel for me, I'm more used to meeting people who've read my non-fiction. [With fiction], I'm definitely still at the stage of being just simply touched and amazed that anyone might want to read me.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Extraordinary courage, and the resolution to go on making that act of courage over a period of years. And never a touch of self-aggrandisement.
Sarah Gristwood's novel, 'The Girl in the Mirror', is published by HarperPress
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Game of Thrones season 5: Emilia Clarke praises characters who 'accept their femininity'
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate