Friday, October 1, 2010

Lionel Shriver dreams of teaming up with Edith Wharton to take on the fêted boys

The festival is getting closer and closer, in fact it officially starts in just 2 weeks, with Lionel Shriver discussing her new novel "So Much for That" on the 14th October. With some pre-festival events this weekend as part of the Manchester Weekender, we can't wait to get stuck in!

To whet your appetites, over the next couple of weeks I'll be uploading some mini-interviews with a selection of this year's special guests. Thanks Lionel for being the first!

MLF: What are you reading at the moment?

LS: I just finished "Caribou Island" by David Vann, and next in the pile is Allegra Goodman's "The Cookbook Collector" – to which I'm especially looking forward to, since I was such a huge fan of her earlier novel "Intuition".

MLF: What made you want to be a writer? Who/ what is your biggest inspiration?

LS: Reading made me want to be a writer, soon after I learned how. So I guess you can most credit Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Where the Wild Things Are, Babar, CS Lewis's Narnia books, All Hallow's Eve, and subsequently a trove of science fiction, with which I became obsessively entranced by the age of ten: Robert Heinlien, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke. I moved on, of course, to Faulkner, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Flaubert, but it was those early books that instilled a love of reading and an entrancement with the power of storytelling.

MLF: If you could meet any writer, artist, musician (alive or dead) who would it be and why?

LS: Edith Wharton. I think she and I could kill off a bottle of wine together with great gusto. I could grumble about the hoo-ha around J. Franzen, and she could grumble about the hoo-ha around Henry James.

MLF: What would you be if not a writer?

LS: A figure sculptor.

MLF: Do you ever get writer's block? If you do, how do you get over it?

LS: Not generally, though I am aware of sneakily putting off starting my next book at the moment. I'll get over it because eventually, spongeing the kitchen floor when it's not really that dirty, I'll feel too guilty. Guilt is a great motivator.

MLF: Which piece of your own work are you most proud of?

LS: Of my backlist, "Game Control"– which I still think is my most under-appreciated novel. Otherwise, I guess I'm proudest of my last novel, "So Much for That". Making a book about illness and death fun to read was something of an achievement.

MLF: What do you see in your future?

LS: More books and bad knees.

MLF: What are you looking forward to most at MLF?

LS: I'm tempted to say, "The train home" – since I do a fair number of festival appearances. But less facetiously, though I tire of hewing to PR schedules, finding a place to lock my bike at Paddington, and filling out questionnaires for websites, I always enjoy the events themselves – particularly the Q & A at the end, which is always different, and keeps me on my toes. Writing itself is isolated, and I love hearing from my readership and getting their stories.

Lionel Shriver's latest novel "So Much for That" is published by Harper Collins.

You can catch Lionel at this year's festival on Thursday 14th October, 7pm at the Banqueting Room, Manchester Town Hall. Tickets are £7/£5

Find out more here

Kirsty Young (Digital Marketing Assistant)

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