What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 Festival?
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’d written millions of words in speeches, magazine features, press releases, white papers, news stories, op-eds and all sorts of other editorial and communication. And I thought, what the hell? It’s just more words. Let’s do this thing. I subsequently learned the order you put the words in matters quite a bit.
What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?
Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell. It’s about as good as it gets. I recently derived immense pleasure from re-reading The English Patient.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?
Don’t let conventional publishing grind you down. Be yourself. Be unconventional and flout their conformity. Unless, of course, you’re minded to conform, in which case fill your boots.