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Timur Vermes was born in Nuremberg in 1967 to a German mother and a Hungarian father. He studied history and politics and went on to become a journalist. Look Who’s Back, a comic tale featuring a resurrected Hitler, is his first novel.

Who is your perfect reader?

There is no perfection in this world.

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh out loud?

The propaganda for the Munich mayor’s election

Which books are on your bedside table?

Das Kalkwerk by Thomas Bernhard.

When did you know you were going to be a writer?

Never. I noticed I became one afterwards.

What is your daily writing routine?

Hard to start, very, very inefficient.

What music helps you write?

None. Music is distracting, unfortunately.

What do you snack on while you write?

I try not to snack but chocolate is hard to resist.

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?

Edward Snowden. That way I’d be sure he’s still alive.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Depends for how long. A minute – nearly anyone. A day – my wife.

Who would you choose to play you in a film about your life?

Denzel Washington.

When do you feel most free?

Sundays between 10am and 10.30am.

How do you relax?

Sitting on my sofa, reading comic books.

When were you happiest?

Possibly the second time I met my wife. But I don’t think a ranking of happy moments makes real sense.

What are you scared of?

It didn’t help Angela Merkel that Putin knew she’s afraid of dogs, did it?

What is the best piece of advice a parent gave you?

Whoever shoots first, dies second.

When did you last cry?

Watching the defensive work of [football club] Nürnberg.

What would you go back and change?

The creation of earth, there have been some major mistakes made.

What would you change about yourself?

My hair-do.

Who are your literary influences?

Entertainingly written newspaper articles, some graphic novels . . . hard to say, I pick up a little something from everyone.

What book do you wish you’d written?

The Bible. The sales figures are unbelievable.

Can you remember the first novel you read?

Could have been The 35th of May by Erich Kästner. Or his The Animals’ Conference.

What novel would you give a child to introduce them to literature?

Kästner would be a good choice.

What are you most proud of writing?

Anything delivered in time.

How would you earn your living if you had to give up writing?

Professional gambling and bank robbery. Or maybe journalism.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

My sofa is very near to it.

What does it mean to be a writer?

That you’re dealing a lot with words.

‘Look Who’s Back’ is published by MacLehose Press

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.