Best short story I’ve ever read:
The Mupandawana Dancing Champion by Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah. A tragicomic story of an elderly coffin maker, M'dhara Vitalis, who died on his feet while dancing. It’s hard not to love a story that makes you laugh and sober each time you read it.
Book every child should read at school:
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. ‘Pip’ is the boy!
Best ‘film of the book’ I’ve seen:
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. Wonderful film as directed by Fred Zinnemann. If you have watched the film then you won’t need to read the book again.
My opinion of a good storyteller:
Susan Howatch. Susan can spin a tale. It’s always a delight to read her.
My favourite opening line of a novel:
‘Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically’ – is the first line of D.H Lawrence’s, Lady Chatterley’s lover. Fantastic hook line for a wonderful book.
My favourite novel that no one else seems to have heard of:
The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene. Frankly, I think Graham Greene did not receive as much credit as he deserved.
The book I’d most like to reread, if I could find it again:
Wilbur Smith’s The Dark of the Sun. A scintillating classic set in Southern Africa. I read a borrowed copy a long time ago and have been looking for it ever since in book stores.
My favourite bookshop:
Aberdeen bookshop near the university - sells mostly second-hand books and classics. I get inspired each time I go there.
Author I’d like to nominate for the Nobel Prize for literature:
That’s a hard call. I think Chinua Achebe deserves it.
Deceased author I’d most like to come under his tutelage:
DH Lawrence. He was a genius.