Small Talk: Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper was born in Melbourne in 1973. Her debut novel, A Child’s Book of True Crime (2002), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for literature; her second book was an acclaimed non-fiction work, The Tall Man (2008). She lives in Melbourne with her partner and son.

Who is your perfect reader?

One who feels they must send my book to their 50,000 closest friends.

What books are on your bedside table?

Adam Phillips’ Side Effects, and a tome called The Mighty Toddler that gives sage advice on food-throwing, biting and other forms of pre-verbal rebellion.

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

I still don’t know I’m going to be a writer.

Where do you write best?

Somewhere without an internet connection.

What music helps you write?

I’m of the Jonathan Franzen sensory deprivation school, but only earplugs.

Who are your literary influences?

Are influences the same as writers I like? They are Graham Greene, Janet Malcolm, Charlotte Brontë and JM Coetzee.

What do you snack on while you write?

Nuts and berries.

If you could own any painting, what would it be?

They’re not paintings but I love Alexander Calder’s studies of the circus, full of dash and dare.

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

Someone with a wonderful story that they would like to be told.

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

Someone with a wonderful story they’d like told, also in possession of an electrical engineering degree.

What keeps you awake at night?

My 16-month-old son.

What are you most proud of writing and why?

The paragraphs that come closest to saying what I mean.

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

Rita Hayworth.

Which literary character most resembles you?

One of the literary types in an Alice Munro story.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?

Fishing in a small tin boat in crocodile-infested waters. My host had perfect confidence that if he didn’t hurt the crocodiles, they wouldn’t hurt him.

What are you scared of?

Bushfires, climate change, snakes, my loved ones suffering, physical and mental frailty, political extremism, the state of publishing, you name it.

Chloe Hooper’s latest novel is ‘The Engagement’ (Jonathan Cape)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.