Sofi Oksanen, novelist: One minute interview

Oksanen is the author of 'When the Doves Disappeared'

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

In the hotel in Riga, watching over the Daugava river to the Old Town.

What are you currently reading? Of books?

Nothing as I'm finishing my new novel Norma. But I have a long reading list waiting for the moment when I've delivered my manuscript.

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

I have many favourites, but Alexander Solzhenitsyn did some amazing documentary writing in Archipelago Gulag – and without a computer. The book was written in (Soviet-)Estonian countryside, where he was living after the camps. He considered Estonia more free at the time than the rest of the Soviet Union and that's the reason he wanted to write it there. Nobody knew who he was, except the family who were helping him, providing the food and fetching the new pages every day. And in the end it was smuggled to West.

Describe the room where you usually write

Nowadays I have a flat for writing. It was recently renovated so it's pretty empty and I haven't had time to get the books out of the boxes. I write at home as well.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Snork Maiden (a Moomin character by Tove Jansson).

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, who is not allowed to go home now. Crimean Tatars are the ones who should have a say about their home, but they don't after Russia occupied the area. Dzhemilev is an old Soviet dissident as well. He said the length of the occupation depends on support and empathy towards Tatars.

Sofi Oksanen's new novel, 'When the Doves Disappeared' is published by Atlantic (£12.99)