The author on his mother’s storytelling, cheering up with Oscar Wilde and why he always finishes books
The book I am currently reading
The third volume of John Richardson’s A Life of Picasso. It reveals him to be at once worldly and lordly, both a deliberate artist and an intuitive one. The best biographies don’t read the life into the work, but acknowledge their parallel and sometimes contingent realities.
The book that changed my life
Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I first read it in my mid-20s, on the underground while commuting to Bush House where I worked as a World Service presenter. I began that book as one person and finished it as another. It seemed to contain not only the history of the novel , but also to hint at the many futures of the novel.
Novel (2019) - Head of Zeus
An impassioned plea for freedom and justice, set in a world uncomfortably like our own, by the Man Booker-winner Ben Okri.