One minute with: Wendy Perriam, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm nine floors up, in my London flat, watching a mallard... perched right outside on the window-ledge. After 35 years living in net-curtain-twitching Surbiton, I'm surprised by the wildlife here.

What are you currently reading?

Sam Byers's Idiopathy... "A novel of love, narcissism and ailing cattle" - a brilliantly original book, even down to its jacket.

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

Anita Brookner, for her courage in writing about loneliness – and the courage of her unmarried, childless, isolated protagonists.

Describe the room where you usually write

Dark-red, womb-like walls; two paintings by my artist friend, Keith New; pots of red geraniums, and... a shelf of reference books.

Which fictional character most resembles you?


Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Peter Abelard's mistress, Héloise. After the birth of their illicit child, and Abelard's... castration, both sought refuge in religious life. But, whereas Abelard did a volte face... she reiterated her passion in a series of ardent letters. What a woman!

Wendy Perriam's new novel is 'An Enormous Yes' (Robert Hale)