An extract from an interview with Simon Mawer #manbooker

The Glass Room is your eighth novel and you've also written two non-fiction titles. Does writing fiction come more easily to you?

Quite the contrary. I find non fiction easy and fiction monstrously difficult. But I have no desire to write non fiction and be bound by the limits that a subject imposes. In this respect any work of non fiction is a rather hum-drum, circumscribed affair: you always know what you must write about, even though you may not yet have the exact words. Quite the opposite of a novel. When writing a novel, particularly when starting, each page is entirely blank, empty not only of words but also of ideas. The terror of the blank page, but also the thrill. It's like living a human life in miniature: initially the possibilities are endless, just as a child's potentialities may seem limitless. But as you progress through the book you make choices, shut off possibilities, impose limits and restrictions, just as you do in life. And finally all that is left is the end. Perhaps you might conclude with a flourish but the whole point has been getting there, just as the whole point of a life is in the living of it, rather than the dying. It is given to few to write a great novel, just as it is given to few to live a great life. But it must be worth trying.

Oh my – I think this man is simply wonderful.


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