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Karen Joy Fowler - longlist author interview

Karen Joy Fowler - longlist author interview

As part of our series of interviews we speak to Karen Joy Fowler, author of the longlisted We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

What has it been like to be longlisted?

It’s been completely amazing.  I’ve heard from people who last spoke to me thirty years ago.  I’ve been given useful advice on how to deal with the royals, should that become necessary.  I received a bottle of Pimms in the mail and the London AZ.  I  now come fully equipped.

What are you working on next?

I’m doing a historical novel that takes place in the US a few years before the civil war and involves a number of famous Shakespearean actors.  There may be fairies – too soon to tell. 

What are you reading at the moment?

Colm Tóibín’s spectacular Nora Webster

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

You must be joking.  I can’t possibly pick only one.  Or ignore the shortlists.  But I will say that I am writing a historical novel because of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.  She completely transformed my sense of what could be done with that form and made me want to try it for myself.

Did you see Tolstoy's maxim “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” as a novelistic challenge to which your book is a response?

What happy families?  Where?  That’s what I’ve always wanted to ask Tolstoy.  I don’t know any family so happy you couldn’t write a novel about them.