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What Does it Mean to be a Writer?

For the Financial Times

Q&A with author Edward Docx

‘What does it mean to be a writer? To give precise and enduring expression to the human experience’

Edward Docx was born in England in 1972. He is the eldest of seven children. He read English Literature at Cambridge. His work has won the Geoffrey Faber Prize and been longlisted for the Man Booker. He lives in south London with his wife and children.

Who is your perfect reader?
In my experience, readers of fiction tend to be intelligent and insightful people.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Radetzky March (Roth), Libra (DeLillo), The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky), Paw Patrol 1000 Stickers.

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?
Between Sauron and Emmanuelle Béart.

Where do you write best?

In conversation with other people about writing.

What is the best piece of advice a parent gave you?
Contribute.

What is your current favourite word?
Diaphanous.

If you could own any painting, what would it be?
“The Cardsharps” by Caravaggio. I love the vitality of the narrative; it’s a scene caught in the midst of a very human drama — almost as if that single painting is an entire film.

How do you relax?
Go-Karting with my brothers and sisters. Making paella.

When do you feel most free?
In conversation with people who are not.

What book do you wish you’d written?
Of recent times — Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. Of previous times — Anna Karenina. Of ancient times — Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Where is your favourite place in the world?
The Isle of Skye.

What does it mean to be a writer?
To give precise and enduring expression to the human experience.

Do you have a writing routine?

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