Will Hutton, columist & political economist: 'Ian McEwan is the foremost chronicler of our times'


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am in my study at Hertford College. I look out at one of the most wonderful sights in Europe – the front of the Bodleian Library and to its left, the Radcliffe Camera.

What are you currently reading?

Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace – a wonderful magisterial account of the countdown to the First World War. MacMillan shows both the inevitability of suspicious empires going to war, but how the personal quirks of Europe's pre-modern rulers added fuel to the fire. This is the early 20th century portrayed as never before.

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

Ian McEwan. He is the foremost chronicler of our times with both literary and political edge. I love the way he gets in the heads of his characters, masters whatever subject – from journalism to neuroscience – and always, always has twist after twist to keep his reader compelled. Great narrative structure and brilliant wordsmith.

Describe the room where you usually write

A far too small study crowded with an excess of books, boxes of papers and a road bike – with a not very prepossessing view of Camden.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Probably Tigger – too much bouncing about.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Very unsurprising I am afraid, but it remains the economist John Maynard Keynes. Just the best economist who ever lived.

'How Good We Can Be: Ending the Mercenary Society and Building a Great Country', by Will Hutton is published by Little, Brown (£16.99)