A. Bookseller, PhD student
A. If I couldn't be a writer, I'd be more or less happy as an academic.
A. I studied English at University College Dublin, where I'm also doing a PhD in American Literature.
A. Right now I'm listening to a lot of Elvis Costello, but I do love Leonard Cohen and Pink Floyd.
A. The Prestige made a big impression on me - I think it's an underrated film.
A. The Sopranos.
A. The condition of being halfway through writing a novel and knowing exactly how to get it finished.
A. Spiders. Trite, but there it is. I will never willingly visit any kind of swampy, jungle environment, because I know it will be full of spiders.
A. America. I'd like to spend a lot more time seeing the US.
A. When I was 21 I thought I was James Joyce. I even had a girlfriend named Nora. Now, I'm more modest. Let's say... Napoleon.
A. I admire people who have the capacity to be happy. It's rarer than you think.
A. "Awesome." Also, "There's this Martin Amis character who..."
A. Occasionally I regret never having had a real job (i.e. one that didn't involve books). But then I come to my senses.
A. I'd like to be a gifted accountant. I hear there's money in it.
A. Irish people are constitutionally incapable of boasting. But I am glad I learned to play the guitar.
A. My patience.
A. I'm a slow learner, but when I learn something, it stays learned.
A. I secretly want to be a film director. But I hear you have to get up at 5am all the time. Too early for me.
A. My apparent normality.
A. Jason Compson in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. A truly convincing monster.
A. I'd like to meet Thomas Jefferson. I'd ask him to design and build a house for me to live in.
A. I'm irritated by far too many things to choose just one.
A. Reading, sadly.
A. I've always wanted to be a CIA agent. But it would probably be less exciting than it seems.
A. Honesty, honesty, honesty.
A. Steak. I had steak for breakfast in Boston once. It worked surprisingly well as a breakfast food.
A. "Street Hassle" by Lou Reed, "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones, "Holiday in Cambodia" by the Dead Kennedys, "One of My Turns" by Pink Floyd, "Who By Fire" by Leonard Cohen.
A. In no particular order: Martin Amis, James Joyce, Jonathan Franzen, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, John Updike, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Joseph Conrad, Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, Robert B. Parker, Geoff Dyer, Nicholson Baker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian McEwan, W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Vladimir Nabokov, John Banville, Jonathan Swift, William Shakespeare, Philip Larkin, Thomas M. Disch, Don DeLillo, John Fowles, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Henry James, Fintan O'Toole, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, Gustave Flaubert, Jane Austen, Saul Bellow, Evelyn Waugh, Colm Toibin, John Steinbeck, Junot Diaz, Sam Harris, Alan Moore, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Dwight MacDonald, Clive James, J.G. Ballard, Margaret Atwood.
A. James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Martin Amis, Money Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
A. United States by Gore Vidal. It always reminds me how much I haven't read.
A. Obey the Ancient Mariner principle - tell your story as if your life depended on it.
A. "And did you go to a private school yourself?" (The answer is no.)