Many view Nick Clegg as a frustrated politician, unable to promote the Liberal Democrats' agenda in a predominantly Conservative coalition. Now it has emerged that the Deputy Prime Minister is also a frustrated author, having penned a "shockingly bad" draft of a novel in his early twenties.
Mr Clegg said his attempt was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Autumn Of The Patriarch, which follows the solitary, desperate life of a fictional dictator. Acknowledging that his work wouldn't be bothering the Booker Prize jury any time soon, he promised that the 120-page effort "will never see the light of day".
He told Easy Living magazine that he "would still love to write a novel," adding: "I find writing very therapeutic. I would love to emulate the style of one of my favourite writers, J M Coetzee, although I don't think I ever could. But I love that very simple, sparse style – not a single surplus word. It's almost barren; so beautiful."
Mr Clegg said he read at least a few pages of fiction "religiously, every night before I go to sleep", claiming he wasn't a "24-hour political obsessive". He added: "I can't imagine anything worse than doing politics all day then reading about it all night." He also listed his seven favourite books: they included Crime And Punishment by Dostoevsky, Lampedusa's The Leopard and Roy Jenkins's biography of William Gladstone.