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Andrew O’Hagan longlist author interview

Andrew O’Hagan longlist author interview

In the latest in our series of interviews with Man Booker Prize 2015 longlisted authors, we speak to Andrew O'Hagan author of The Illuminations,

What has it been like to be long listed?

What could be nicer? You work for four years on a novel and then find it's being considered for an important prize. There are bad days in the writing game, but this isn’t one of them. The loveliest thing of all is finding yourself in such good company, all these novelists being considered who you’ve admired for years. 

What are you working on next?

I’d like to say I’m working on a novel about the moral existence of Donald Trump, but it’s not true — I simply lack the imagination. I’m beginning work on my next novel, which is to be called Caledonian Road.  

What are you reading at the moment?

I'm reading the poems of Dylan Thomas. They keep drawing me back, even the bad ones.  

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

I have a love of Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. A worthy winner, and such an unexpected writer, working to no-one’s programme but her own. 

In the twin stories in The Illuminations Anne's is largely internal while her soldier grandson Luke's is more physical and external. Which was the more satisfying to write?

Each was the more satisfying to write because of the counter-veiling influence of the other. I wanted them to jar a little, the inside and the outside, as they do in life, for people like that. But in each case, when I settled down, I’d find myself enveloped in the tone of the moment, whether it be the false reminiscence of an old woman with dementia, or an ambush in an Afghan village. 

Andrew O'Hagan