Vikram Seth, novelist & poet: 'Timothy Steele's poetry is clear and moving and memorable'


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Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my bedroom in Delhi, and I can see, apart from my dark blue duvet and the usual mess of papers and clothes on every chair and table beyond, a vase full of red gladioli that a friend brought me yesterday evening. And beyond that, kids playing cricket under a hazy winter sky.

What are you currently reading?

Very little. I'm going through one of my non-reading phases, which sometimes last for months. I'm not even re-reading the draft of what I'm writing, just mulling over what the characters might be thinking or doing next.

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

I love the poetry of the American poet Timothy Steele. It is clear and moving and memorable, and I hope that it gets to be much more widely known.

Describe the room where you usually write

I usually write here, in bed. My dark blue duvet served as my desktop for A Suitable Boy and, more than two decades later, it's doing the same for [A Suitable] Girl.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

People tend to see me in Amit, the rather feckless novelist who is one of Lata's three suitors in A Suitable Boy. (Though, unlike him, I did somehow finish my novel.)

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Schubert, who died so ridiculously young. If only he had lived a few years longer, how much more would he have composed to delight and move us?

Vikram Seth's poetry collection, 'Summer Requiem', is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (£14.99)