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