I’m excited about meeting new authors and interacting with readers. It will be my first ever trip to UAE so I’m really looking forward to exploring Dubai itself. Also, it will be the first time I see my novel The Turning Point in its paperback format – it’s not actually published until 24th March – so it’s something of a world exclusive for the Festival!
Why do you think literary festivals are important?
They are as important for authors as they are enjoyable for the audiences. Remember, I spend most my year with people who don’t actually exist (no matter how ‘real’ my characters seem to me!) so it’s really great to meet my readers. I love going to other book festivals as a reader too – it’s just so stimulating to have an intense period of time to share with book lovers at really unique events – and to discover new authors and expand my book collection! I imagine my suitcase will be far heavier on my return journey!
Can you share one line from a book or poem that has stayed with you for the longest time?
The opening line of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith is pretty memorable – and sets the tone for the entire novel as well as perfectly sums up the character of Cassandra in just those few words. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink…”
But one of my all-time favourite passages is from Great Expectations – because it’s so succinct, so descriptive, so poetic:
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
You have to make a book tower of at least 5 books for your nightstand. Which ones would you choose?
A Widow For One Year by John Irving
Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
(please can I also sneak in a copy of The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje?)
In your opinion, what does 2016 hold for the world of literature?
Well, I for one am hugely excited about Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography which is being published in September…!