Submitted by Leah on Fri, 2015-08-28 08:19
What has it been like to be longlisted?
It is wonderful to be included in a list of excellent writers. Prizes can appear to be simply competitive, but everyone nominated is honoured, and this is especially true in their being associated with all the distinguished names that appear on these lists.
What are you working on next?
There is a novel lurking in my mind, turning up on a few pages, while I work on a series of lectures.
What are you reading at the moment?
To be honest and embarrassingly predictable, The Letters of John Calvin. They are historically fascinating. He writes to Edward VI and to the Lord Protector Somerset, for example.
What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?
Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I’m fascinated by the period of the Renaissance and Reformation, and her books make the period and the characters remarkably rich and real. The books are an achievement of a very high order.
The Gilead trilogy, of which Lila is the third book, revolves around the extended Ames family. After spending a decade with the family are they almost as real as the people you know?
They do feel like people I know. And I have to be faithful to the way that I know them—they are no longer my creatures, in any ordinary sense. This is an interesting problem and advantage, fictionally speaking.