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
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Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Lady Gaga attacked by Noel Gallagher in 2013 music rant
Sir Elton John lashes out at Russia’s anti-gay laws in Moscow show
Doctor Who Christmas special 2013: New pictures released of Matt Smith's finale
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- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
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