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David Nicholls - Longlist author interview

David Nicholls - Longlist author interview

The next author we speak to is David Nicholls about being longlisted and his novel Us

What has it been like to be longlisted?

Thrilling, and entirely unexpected - I wasn't even sure that I qualified. The news came through while I was in New York, dazed from jetlag and a mild hangover, concentrating hard on the buffet breakfast. The text messages started coming through a little after seven in the morning. I finished breakfast, then walked down Broadway in bright early morning sunshine, trying to take it all in.

What are you working on next?

We're currently editing an adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd, for which I've written the script. Carey Mulligan is a wonderful Bathsheba, though as always there's a certain frustration involved in trying to cram it all in. I'm working on other speculative scripts - a possible TV adaptation of Edward St Aubyn's wonderful Melrose novels. After that, I'll do me best to clear my head and start another novel.

What are you reading at the moment?

In a spirit of loyalty, I'm working my through the longlist, starting with Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves, which I'm enjoying far more than I probably should, given that we're ostensibly rivals. There are writers on the list that I've read and admired for many years, so I'm delighted to find myself amongst those names.

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

The Line of Beauty, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Moon Tiger - so many to choose from, but if I had to pick one I'd go back to 1979, Penelope Fitzgerald's Offshore. It was a controversial choice at the time, but in retrospect seems absolutely right. A fine novel by a great, great writer.

Is Us a sort of sequel to One Day – the earlier book being about the loss of a loved one and the new about the effort to hold on to them?

It's a sequel in the sense that it's about what happens next, after that first flush, after the elation of the early years of a long relationship. And yes, there's a kind of terror hidden behind the love story. In Us it's a fear of unrequited love within a family, a horror that the people Douglas loves the most in the world might not love him back. But I think the tone is different - a little more mature, perhaps a little darker. And Douglas, his voice, is on every page - an apparently conventional, conservative man with great hidden reserves of passion and courage.