Meg Rosoff, novelist & children's author: 'Barack Obama makes me feel less ashamed to be American'

The author discusses Nell Zink, Richard Hughes, and missing her dog-walking friends

Thursday 04 February 2016 15:49
Rosoff says: 'The days of reading one book at a time are long gone'
Rosoff says: 'The days of reading one book at a time are long gone'

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm sitting in an industrial loft in south London. Nearly everything I own is visible, still in boxes. Looking up through the glass-pitched roof I can see the sky.

What are you currently reading?

I've just finished Nell Zink's exuberantly odd Mislaid and started A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Henry Marsh's Do No Harm arrived in the post yesterday. The days of reading one book at a time are long gone.

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

I read Richard Hughes' A High Wind in Jamaica this year and felt breathless with shock and awe. A pirate adventure written in 1929, it was traditionally given to 14-year-old schoolboys who couldn't possibly appreciate how appallingly dark the story really is, and how dreadfully funny. It's so underwritten and suggestive that you have to be dark and dreadful yourself to appreciate what's going on. I haven't admired a novel (and an author) so much in years.

Describe the room where you usually write

I can write pretty much anywhere with a comfortable sofa but I do like the view to change every so often, hence the move from north to south London. I miss my dog-walking friends but Southwark feels like a whole new city.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Ginger in Black Beauty, for obvious reasons.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Barack Obama restored grace, compassion and intellect to the White House against all odds. He makes me feel less ashamed to be American.

Meg Rosoff's debut adult novel, 'Jonathan Unleashed', is published by Bloomsbury

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