Saturday, August 09, 2008

Writing Women

There's much good author stuff in the book pages of the British press this weekend, and I particularly enjoyed these two interviews.

Kate Atkinson (author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird and Case Histories) is interviewed in the Times, Tim Teeman in the Times is determined to discover her "deep dark secrets" and she equally determined not to give them up.

Atkinson was an academic who changed direction when her PhD viva was refused. In retrospect now she sees that failure as a blessing
Atkinson says she doesn't regret leaving academia. “If I had got my doctorate I wouldn't have become a writer. Had I continued I would probably be studying something like passivity and activity in the language of Jane Austen. In fact, in my next book (What Would Jane Do?) that's what the heroine will be studying - I am living vicariously through her. If you have something in you that's creative and you're not creating and not aware what you should do to create, then that's my deep dark secret.” Well we got there in the end. “It was one of the major things in my early life - not getting outside what was inside.”
Crime writer Ruth Rendall is interviewed in the Telegraph by Laura Hynd. She's 78 - can you believe it looking at Nigel Farndale's portrait (right)? Maybe there's something about writing that keeps you young? Ah no. She runs on the treadmill every day to keep her size 10 figure.

And she reads voraciously - her favourites among mine too (we seem to have a shared love for unreliable narrators!):
The greatest novel she has ever read is Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, though the one she wishes she had written is Zoƫ Heller's Notes on a Scandal.
Her latest novel is The Birthday Present and is the 13th published under her pseudonym Barbara Vine. Another Ruth Rendell novel is due out in November. Rendell is currently campaigning against female genital mutilation.

No comments: