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)Reuse content