Q. Which other EAFOL 2016 participant are you most excited about?
Book festivals are a great chance to catch up with old friends but also to discover new writers. The last time I worked with Ian Rankin was at a tiny festival in Cromarty on the east coast of Scotland so it’ll be lovely to meet him again in a very different setting. I’m most excited though about meeting authors whom I’ve never previously read and whose background and traditions are different from mine. Literature is all about seeing the world through another person’s eyes and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature seems very good at bringing together authors from all over the world.
Q. Which book(s) are you reading now?
I’m re-reading Sara Paretsky. She was a guest at the Harrogate Crime-writing Festival last year and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy her work.
Q. Which literary character would you invite to dinner? And why?
Salvo Montalbano, the character created by Andrea Camilleri, would be a fantastic dinner companion, though I’d probably invite myself to his house in Sicily – I’d be too nervous to cook for him. We’d sit on his terrace and look out at the sea. His housekeeper would have cooked a delicious meal. I’d enjoy the food and the conversation would range from politics and the mafia to Salvo’s domestic arrangements.
Q. There have been some interesting additions to the dictionary over the years. Which word would you remove?
I wouldn’t remove anything. I think language has to change to stay alive.
Q. Who would write/ illustrate the story of your life?
She’s dead of course, but I would have liked my world brought to life by Barbara Pym. She’s so good on small domestic details and the frustrations of women’s lives. And there’s always a wry humour. That would be very important. Also, it might be satisfying for her to tackle a relationship that works and has survived. My husband and I have been married for nearly forty years and most of her characters are rather sad.