At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?

Whatever age I was the day my father pointed out to me that being a fighter pilot meant I had to kill people and animals.

Was your first book published or is it still lurking in a drawer somewhere?

Lurking in the drawer where my mother keeps all my childhood masterpieces.

What was your favourite childhood book?

Jock of the Bushveld, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick; Chaka, Thomas Mofolo; The Snow Goose, Paul Gallico; Great Expectations, Dickens; The Little Princess and The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett; The Jungle Book, Kipling; A Sip of Jerepigo, Herman Charles Bosman; anything and everything by Mary Renault.

What is your ‘ if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?

Steve Biko, I Write What I Like

Do you find the process of writing agony or pure pleasure?

Writing is pure bliss; not writing is pure purgatory.

Who, in your opinion is the most under-read author?

Olive Schreiner

Who or what have been your most important influences?

Books and technology

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?  

Sleeping in my coffin.

Is being a literary prize judge exhausting or exhilarating?  Or neither?

Both.  It’s the literary equivalent of being sent on a luxury cultural Cook’s Tour.

Favourite film? 

Battleship Potemkin

Favourite Album

Miriam Makeba: Live At Bern’s Salonger, Stockholm, Sweden, 1966

Favourite Artist

Samia Halaby