My Secret Life: Lynne Truss, writer, 55


The house I grew up in ... was a council house near Richmond in Surrey, on an estate built in the early 1950s. I shared a bedroom with my older sister. For some reason I used to think it was a good idea to pile books at the bottom of my bed, and they would fall on the floor in the night, which annoyed everyone.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... invisible. I tried to keep out of family rows. I still can't bear to see people fall out with each other.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd be tidier. There's a book leaning against the wall in the corner of my living room which I know has been there since Christmas two years ago.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... sleeping. I think it's my main talent.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... typing. I did learn touch-typing when I was about 18, but it was in the days of old-fashioned manual typewriters, and I never had the strength in my little fingers to do the cap-shift keys. Now I type very quickly with two fingers, and have to go back and correct every other word.

At night I dream of ... houses, sometimes. I have a classic dream quite often of suddenly remembering there's an extra dimension to my own house – a deserted west wing, if you like. I go in and it's all familiar and lovely.

I wish I'd never worn ... my hair in a bob. I hate all the pictures.

My favourite item of clothing ... was a simple dark-green linen waistcoat from Nicole Farhi, which went with a beautiful matching linen skirt. It had buttons that were discreet sea-horses and shells. I had it when I was thin and flat-chested in my thirties and it really suited me.

I drive ... a Volkswagen Beetle, with a special car-seat for the dog, so that he can see out.

My house is ... a bit untidy.

My favourite work of art ... is a watercolour by Quentin Blake I bought in a mad moment. It shows a large woman in a floppy hat taking a duck for a walk on a beach. I don't know the back story (why a duck?), but it's a picture of pure timeless happiness.

My favourite building ... is Senate House in Bloomsbury. I worked in the library there before I went to university, and at the time I had no idea how odd and alienating it was architecturally. Now I am forever recognising it on telly and in films.

A book that changed me ... was Alain Fournier's 'The Lost Domain', which I read when I was 18 years old. I was very serious in those days.

Movie heaven ... is either 'Master and Commander', 'Batman Begins', or 'Julie and Julia'. One man has to choose the lesser of two evils; one man combats fear with fear; and two women make mouth-watering boeuf bourguignon.

The last album I bought ... was a talking book of Ford Madox Ford's 'The Good Soldier'.

My greatest regret ... is that I'm always conscious of class, which makes me an awkward customer socially. I'm really envious of people who don't think it's an issue – or who have so much personal confidence that the issue disappears.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Paul Merton.

The last time I cried ... was watching a BBC4 documentary about the loving nature of working-class fathers in the 20th century. I was so upset I had to switch it off.

My life in six words ... I worry about things too much.

A life in brief

The writer and broadcaster Lynne Truss was born in Kingston, Surrey, in May 1955. After working in journalism, she published the international bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation in 2003. Truss is also a writer on football, and her most recent book, Get Her Off the Pitch!, is published by 4th Estate, £12.99. She lives in Brighton and London with her dog, Hoagy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor