A. I worked in bookshops, I was a journalist briefly, I worked as a painter and decorator in New York, and I have also worked with great pleasure over the years as a painter and photographer. I also work as a parish clerk in a church in Cambridge.
A. The most exciting thing I ever did was a short piece for breakfast television on bulimic children. I felt as if I were flying.
A. I went to Albert Road comprehensive school in Manchester, then Stand Sixth Form College in Manchester, then Trinity College, Oxford, then St Andrews University, then City University, London.
A. I like Moby. He is very exciting, and I like Purcell and lots of church music.
A. As with anyone's: not long enough for all that is possible.
A. I stole it from F.J.Foakes-Jackson, a Cambridge scholar and clergyman: “It’s no use trying to be clever—we are all clever here; just try to be kind—a little kind.”
A. There are many kinds of happiness. I think they all involve the understanding that they are temporary.
A. Apart from the real big ones, that we all presumably have, such as something bad happening to the people I love - my greatest fear is boredom. It hasn't happened very often since I grew up.
A. I think here, in a small house in Cambridge, with sunlight slanting through the blind, is fine.
A. Nobody much. I would probably identify more strongly with the people who are not in history, the mute inglorious Miltons, the women who didn't have rooms of their own.
A. Tom Stoppard. When he dies, unless I die first, he might be the dead person I most admire. Though really I think Shakespeare is immoveable there, and I am pretty impressed with St Lawrence as well.
A. "Oh, I am so sorry, I forgot." "I'll just have a cup of tea before I start."
A. I am not telling you.
A. To sing. To sing, to sing, to sing.
A. My greatest achievement is a sort of flash of ineluctable joy once, when I was reading Othello. I saw how great it was. Other people have this about God; I'd like it to happen to me over God. Though perhaps if something is ineluctable, it can't be an achievement.
A. Apparently I am sunny. I would say I am enthusiastic.
A. Lord Peter Wimsey.
A. As Rory Kinnear plays him, Iago, though favourite would not be the right word. He made Iago truly despicable.
A. whn peeple cant spel or punctuat'e and dont even care
A. I like to sit about doing bugger all so that I can feel terribly guilty about not writing. I also love gardening, painting, talking to my friends.
A. I would like to be a botanist. I was discouraged at school. I would like to create new flowers. I would also love to be a painter of large paintings.
A. Smartness, kindness, funniness.
A. Jacobs cream crackers with cold butter.
A. "When I am laid in earth" - Dido's song by Purcell, Scarborough Fair, "I get along without you very well" by Chet Baker, Loser by Beck, O Salutaris Hostia
A. The Jane Austen novels, except for Northanger Abbey, which I like but not enough to reread a lot. I like re-reading King Lear, and Georgette Heyer novels and Thirkell novels. Up and down we go.
A. Yes. Think of a noun, put a timer on, and write non-stop with that noun in mind for ten minutes, and then see what happens.
A. It's witty, it is so well-written, it is not funny at all, it is not very well-written, it is far too scholarly, it is a light beach read.