English fiction was something I loved growing up, and it changed my life – it changed the trajectory of my life.
Women often have a great need to portray themselves as sympathetic and pleasing, but we’re also dark people with dark thoughts.
You can’t state difference and also state equality. We have to state sameness to understand equality.
I like books that expose me to people unlike me and books that do battle against caricature or simplification. That, to me, is the heroic in fiction.
I want to write without shame or pride or over-compensation in one direction or another. To write freely.
I recognize myself to be an intensely naive person. Most novelists are, despite frequent pretensions to deep socio-political insight.
All novels attempt to cut neural routes through the brain, to convince us that down this road the true future of the novel lies.
I noticed in America that if you write a book of any kind, you’re made to be the representative of all the issues that might surround it.
I like books that don’t give you an easy ride. I like the feeling of discomfort. The sense of being implicated.
I’m never interested in writing a kind of neutral, universal novel that could be set anywhere. To me, the novel is a local thing.
I suppose I often think of my writing as quite impersonal. But it turned out, when my father died, writing was exactly what I wanted to do.
If you’re going to write a good book, you have to make mistakes and you have to not be so cautious all the time.
I’m most honest about writing when I’m talking to family or friends, not to newspapers.
My short stories have always pushed twenty pages. That’s no length for a short story to be. You either do them short like Carver or you stop trying.
Oh yes, my generation liked to be in some pain when they read. The harder it was, the more good we believed it was doing us.
I don’t keep any copies of my books in the house – they go to my mum’s flat. I don’t like them around.
When I think of the books I love, there’s always a little laughter in the dark.
We cannot be all the writers all the time. We can only be who we are.
Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.
Nowadays, I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.
Without the balancing context of everyday life, all you have is the news, and news by its nature is generally bad.
Normally, young writers have all the time in the world and they don’t always use it well.