Question Time with Chris Cleave


Chris Cleave 2 cr Lou AbercrombieQ. Which other EAFOL 2016 participant are you most excited about?

I’m looking forward to interviewing Ghada Karmi about her memoir Return, concerning her work with the Palestinian Authority – it’s a startling insight into life under the occupation, and it’s sure to be an important session. I’m honoured to be participating in an event in the Arab world, discussing this key Arab issue, and I think this is a great strength of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature: that it is a true meeting point of cultures.

Q. Which book(s) are you reading now?

I’m enjoying Don Paterson’s Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Paterson is a likeable tour guide, funny and erudite, mischievous and inspiring. For me his book is transforming the sonnets from familiar faded murals into stained glass, through which an unexpected light begins to shine.

Q. Which literary character would you invite to dinner? And why?

I’d invite a minor character, because goodness knows the main characters get asked out enough. I’d invite Clarissa Dalloway’s friend, Sally Seton, and hope she might tell me everything.

Q. There have been some interesting additions to the dictionary over the years. Which word would you remove?

I would never remove a word. I’m an artist, not a secret policeman.

Q. Who would write/ illustrate the story of your life?

I would. I have. I do. At the heart of every novel is an autobiography in disguise. And perhaps a good novel is one in which the reader finds something of their own life written too.