Wilbur Smith, novelist: 'I'm re-reading one of my books - I am really quite chuffed with it!'


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am in New Brunswick, Canada on holiday. In front of me I can see the magnificent Restigouche salmon river which is surrounded by conifer trees – the perfect hiding place for herds of moose and deer.

What are you currently reading?

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and, at the same time, I am reading one of my own; a historical novel called The Triumph of the Sun. It's the first time I've re-read it since it was published in 2005 and I am really quite chuffed with it!

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

I have a number of favourite authors but the one that stands out is John Steinbeck: I admire him for his sense of humour and his humanity.

Describe the room where you usually write

I write in my study which features my PC and books plus all my achievement awards and relics: such as the golden Pans awarded for the sale of 1,000,000 copies of each book by Pan Macmillan. Also, the ITV Crime Thriller Club Living Legend award given to me recently alongside a very rare book collection, which includes first editions of all Frederick Selous works, and other Africana books, and my own hand-written manuscripts which are bound in elephant skin.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

James Bond, although he is not quite as heroic as I am!

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Maggie Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

Wilbur Smith's 'The Early Years Collection' is priced £19.99. His new book, 'Desert God', is out in September (HarperFiction)