One minute with: Tobias Hill, novelist & poet


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Where are you now and what can you see?

In the kitchen, watching my infant watching the washing machine.

What are you currently reading?

The World Until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond: why states monopolise violence, and what happens when they don't (bad things). Also, something called Where Will Moggins have Her Kittens? It has a button that yowls and some heinous writing. It's an object of awe and wonder if you're one year old.

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

Alice Oswald. With Hughes and Heaney gone, people are looking around for the best British and Irish poets. Oswald is one of our finest. Dart charts the course of the eponymous river through the voices of all those who cross its path, the strands coming together to make up the voice of the river itself. Read it if you want to understand the significance of our waterways. It's a masterpiece.

Describe the room where you usually write

Lights everywhere. Fairy lights, animal-shaped lights, prisms on the windowsill. The kid's mad for illumination. Also my hundred favourite books and a big mug of coffee.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

In my new novel there's an orphan called Pond I feel very close to, but that's true of all the children I write. Chances are I also resemble the antihero, Michael Lockhart, though he's a nasty piece of work: I don't disown his nastiness, though.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

PJ Harvey. Arsene Wenger. Satoshi Nakamoto.

Tobias Hill's latest novel, 'What Was Promised', is published by Bloomsbury