I just knew I would be a writer. It just seemed the only sensible thing to do.
The complexion of a novelist is seldom rosy (Paul Bailey once announced to a heavy-hearted audience of novelists at PEN that we have always been an ugly tribe). We are engaged in indoor activity, haemorrhoidal, prone to chillblains, poor of circulation.
Somewhere inside we do know everything about ourselves. There is no real forgetting. Perhaps we know somewhere, too, about all there is to come.
I think the most dangerous influence for a young writer is to be treated with cynicism or discouragement.
I gave myself to my children. It happens to some women.
If you've not been loved as a child, you don't know how to love a child.
Jane Austen we know never let two men converse alone in any novel because what they said would be unknown to her.
English country life is more like Chekhov than The Archers or Thomas Hardy or even the Updike ethic with which it is sometimes compared.
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