One minute with: Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian and novelist
Saturday 07 September 2013
Where are you now and what can you see?
I am at my cottage in Hampshire, in a wild and lush garden surrounded by the sound of birdsong.
What are you currently reading?
Countess Golovine’s memoirs of emperor Alexander, full of fascinating court gossip, for my next book on all the Romanov tsars.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
Naguib Mahfouz, whose Cairo trilogy is a towering masterpiece that easily equals Tolstoy or Balzac: his characters actually seem alive, loveable yet real, and always surprising.
Describe the room where you usually write
My office is a converted greenhouse with glass on three sides and a view of the back gardens of Kensington houses.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
My wife says I am a cross between Biggles and Woody Allen (at least one is a fictional character) but I’d prefer someone more heroic.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Catherine the Great’s partner and minister Prince Potemkin – statesman, intellectual – is a loveable but flawed and fascinating character.
Simon Sebag Montefiore’s novel ‘One Night in Winter’ is published by Century
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians