Q. Which other EAFOL 2016 participant are you most excited about?
Hatoon al-Fassi, a remarkable and courageous woman.
Q. Which book(s) are you reading now?
Mitterrand: A Study in Ambiguity by Philip Short.
I’m not in general a big fan of the French political class but Mitterrand was particularly awful. A few years ago I interviewed a couple of veterans of the wartime French Resistance, who had known Mitterrand during this time, and they didn’t have a decent word to say about him. Interesting life, however, and I’m enjoying the book.
Q. Which literary character would you invite to dinner? And why?
Sir Harry Paget Flashman, brought so memorably to life by George MacDonald Fraser. As a veteran of the Charge of the Light Brigade, not to mention the Siege of Cawnpore and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Flashman would have some wonderful tales to tell.
Q. There have been some interesting additions to the dictionary over the years. Which word would you remove?
Most of them, to be honest. They’re ephemeral and add little to the richness of the English language. Twenty years from now none of us will be able to remember how or why ‘Fo’ Shizzle’ and ‘Meh’ ever made it into the dictionary!
Q. Who would write/ illustrate the story of your life?
My daughter, but not for a few years yet.