Born and brought up in Swansea, south Wales, Joe Dunthorne, 30, shot to fame with his debut novel, Submarine, which chronicles the teenage tribulations of a boy from that city. Shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2009, it has since been translated into 10 languages and was last year adapted for the big screen. He has also published a pamphlet of poetry, Joe Dunthorne: Faber New Poets 5, and another novel, Wild Abandon. Dunthorne studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia. He lives in London.
Who is your perfect reader?
I try not to think who my reader is because it’s distracting. I try to write with myself in mind.
What is the last thing you read that made you laugh out loud?
The book I’m reading at the moment – Politics, by Adam Thirlwell. It has a self-conscious narrator who tells you all the things he likes about the characters.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia. I don’t read much crime fiction but I like its hard-boiled narrative style. And a great collection of short stories, Hot Pink by Adam Levin.
What book changed your life?
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. I was 15 and it was the first book I read that I fully believed in.
What music helps you write?
Only extremely droney, non-vocal music. There are a couple of great Aphex Twin albums called Selected Ambient Works.
What do you snack on while you write?
I’m always planning elaborate things to cook as part of my day. I don’t really snack but I have three-course meals.
Who are your literary influences?
Vonnegut, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, the poet David Berman.
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
David Lynch. He’s got that hippy-dippy side to him but he’s also sweary and outspoken. He would be constantly surprising.
How do you relax?
I play football for a local Hackney side called Recreativo FC. And I also play for the England Writers Football Team.
What book do you wish you’d written?
At the moment it’s The Great Gatsby. I’ve just been to see an eight-hour reading of it, called Gatz. It’s the most perfect book.
Joe Dunthorne’s novel ‘Wild Abandon’ is published by Hamish Hamilton
This article has been corrected since original publication to reflect the fact that ‘The Black Dahlia’ was written by James Ellroy, not Elmore Leonard