Q&A with author Jess Walter

Jess Walter

When did I know I was going to be a writer? I suspected it when I was eight or nine but held out hope for being a professional athlete until I was 16 or so

Richard Flanagan
©Ulf Andersen

Q&A with writer Richard Flanagan

‘What is my daily writing routine? I get up, sit down and make things up. There really isn’t a lot more to it’

Q&A with author Alex Preston

‘Where do I write best? I wrote my first novel on the Tube, on aeroplanes, on my knees on park benches’

Q&A with author Elizabeth McCracken

‘Do I keep a diary? I used to, but I only wrote in it when I was upset. That seemed like a bad legacy to leave behind’

Tom Rachman
©Fredrik Von Erichsen/DPA/Writer Pictures

Q&A with editor, reporter and novelist Tom Rachman

‘Who would I most like to sit next to at a dinner party? Boris Johnson, though I fear he’d steal one of my profiteroles’

SmallTalk hugo williams

Poet and journalist Hugo Williams

‘What is the best piece of advice a parent gave me? Go on, ask her to dance’

Author Romesh Gunesekera

‘When did I know I was going to be a writer? I didn’t, until after years of wanting to I suddenly found I had become one’

Rebecca Hunt Galaxy National Book Awards at the BBC Television
©David Fisher/REX

Painter and writer Rebecca Hunt

‘Who would I like to be stuck in a lift with? Stella Rimington, former director-general of MI5’

Journalist and novelist Timur Vermes

‘What book do I wish I’d written? The Bible. The sales figures are unbelievable’

Peter Buwalda

Writer Peter Buwalda

‘What book do I wish I’d written? ‘Revolutionary Road’, by Richard Yates’

Novelist Yiyun Li

Do I keep a diary? Yes, I do. It was recently stolen and I had to pay a ransom for it – it was a funny story

Willy Vlautin on writing his first good song

I’d written maybe 300 bad songs and then finally I wrote one I liked called ‘White Line Fever’

Phil Klay on the music that helps him write

My friends will see this and tell me, ‘Be real, Phil, you wrote that book listening to “Call Me Maybe” on repeat’

Jim Al-Khalili on writing ‘Quantum’

Who is my perfect reader? Anyone who hasn’t had any interest in science until picking up my book

Christos Tsiolkas wants to be in a lift with Steven Gerrard

Which literary character most resembles me? I hope it is David Copperfield, I sometimes fear it is Camus’s Meursault (‘The Stranger’)

Small Talk: Anna Quindlen

Who would I like to be stuck in a lift with? Idris Elba. Idris Elba is the answer to all life’s questions

Small Talk: Leonardo Padura

What keeps me awake at night? Human stupidity

Small Talk: David Gilbert

Who would I most like to sit next to at a dinner party? Whoever has a little bit of pot that they wouldn’t mind sharing

Small Talk: Cynan Jones

What is the strangest thing I’ve done when researching a book? It involves some rope and a pair of tights

Small Talk: Ken Kalfus

Who would I choose to play me in a film? Vin Diesel. What do we have in common? It’s the musculature!