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Bill Clegg - Longlist author interview

Bill Clegg - Longlist author interview

 


In the latest in our series of interviews with Man Booker Prize 2015 longlisted authors, we speak to Bill Clegg author of Did You Ever Have a Family.


 


What has it been like to be longlisted?


 A wonderful surprise. Somewhat unreal. And given the other long-listed books, humbling.


 


What are you working on next?  


Something that wants to be a novel but for now is the beginning of three or four or maybe none. At the moment it involves a reunion between an estranged father and son, a life-long friendship between two women who don’t tell each other the truth, and a young husband who disappears for days without explanation. But this could all change or be discarded. None of them are safe.


 


What are you reading at the moment?


Re-reading Jenny Offill’s exquisite novel The Department of Speculation and Jack Gilbert’s poems, from Refusing Heaven.


 


What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?  


Anne Enright’s The Gathering is the one I read the most recently. The voice is so strong, so instantly involving. And the family she depicts, with its sadness and secrets and anger, feels just as particular as it does familiar. There's a description in the beginning of the novel – of a son throwing a knife at his mother and the family laughing (he misses); very matter of fact, over the shoulder, and on the way to the bigger story. From that point it is impossible to turn away.


 


As a literary agent, representing other novelists, did you find it daunting both writing and finding a publisher for your own novel?  


Being in such close proximity to great writing as it hatches both buoys and intimidates. Thankfully, the former overpowered the latter enough over the last seven years in order to be able to write the novel.   

Bill Clegg Did You Ever Have a Family
Bill Clegg Did You Ever Have A Family