Ben Markovits: The 5-Minute Interview

'I'm not a politician but if I were, I'd take money from the rich'
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The Independent Online

Ben Markovits, 32, the California-born writer who lives in London, is short-listed for Le Prince Maurice Prize 2006 - awarded to the best literary love stories - for his second novel, "Either Side of Winter"

If I wasn't talking to you right now I'd be...

Reading through some manuscripts. I've been working on a novel about Byron and I have just come back from New York where I was doing a couple of readings, so I would be reading through the last chapter I wrote to get back into the swing of it. The novel is going to be part of a trilogy and I'm working on the second one.

A phrase I use far too often is...

Honestly.

A common misperception of me is...

I'm not a Texan, even though I grew up there.

I'm not a politician but...

If I were, I'd take money from the rich.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Basketball in England. More people take notice of it in America. I have now got it on TV because I've got the North American Sports Network. I grew up with basketball and played it professionally in Germany.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

I once dunked in Madison Square Gardens. It was a Democrats' campaign rally and there was a race between two sets of teams led by Ethan Hawke and Spike Lee. I can't remember which team I was in.

I'm good at...

Forehands but I'm very bad at backhands. I used to play a bit of tennis as a child and now I live opposite a tennis court, so I play most weeks. I grew up playing sport and I'm sporty in an amateur way. I would make, I think, a better gentleman than a player: I fare better when people don't practise and aren't trying.

The ideal night out is...

Getting a pizza from Sally's, a New Haven pizza joint in Connecticut. There was an Italian neighbourhood in Wooster Street in which rival Italian families had set up pizza restaurants called Sally's and Pepe's. A defining characteristic of New Havenites was whether they were Sally's or Pepe's people.

In moments of weakness I...

Obsess over sports statistics, or box scores as they're called in America.

The best age to be is...

In your thirties. I don't feel my consciousness has changed very much so far as I can remember. What was inside my head at the age of eight is not that much different from now. These days I'm a bit better at things and fewer people get to tell me what to do.

You know me as a writer, but in a truer life I'd have been a...

Failed athlete, maybe a failed basketball player, which I was briefly.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Grounded in Kant.

Arifa Akbar

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