My father's drinking was sometimes a problem. And a great deal went unspoken. He was not particularly acute or articulate about the emotions. But he was very affectionate towards me.
Novelists have to be adept at controlling the flow of information, and, most crucially, they have to be in charge of the narrative.
In my experience an appreciative letter from a fellow writer means a lot.
It's good to get your hands dirty a bit and to test how you see things at a given point. And it's very pleasing after writing something like 'Atonement' or 'On Chesil Beach,' which are historical, to get involved in some plausible re-enactment of the here and now.
London in the '70s was a pretty catastrophic dump, I can tell you. We had every kind of industrial trouble; we had severe energy problems; we were under constant terrorist attack from Irish terrorist groups who started a bombing campaign in English cities; politics were fantastically polarized between left and right.
What I've discovered and really confirmed to myself is that opera really likes loud colours, and you need something bold, something savage, unpredictable, passionate. You can't really run a two-hour opera round some muted murmuring.
When I began I thought that literature was contained within a bubble that somehow floated above the world commented upon by newspapers. But I became more and more interested in trying to include some of that world within my work.
By concentrating on what is good in people, by appealing to their idealism and their sense of justice, and by asking them to put their faith in the future, socialists put themselves at a severe disadvantage.
I think of novels in architectural terms. You have to enter at the gate, and this gate must be constructed in such a way that the reader has immediate confidence in the strength of the building.
I always used to deny this, but I guess what I'm really saying is that I was writing to shock... And I dug deep and dredged up all kinds of vile things which fascinated me at the time.
It should simply be an empirical matter whether the climate is changing or not and whether we're responsible. But the various sides of the debate have now become so tribal that it's no longer a matter of changing our views as more information comes in.
What is it precisely, that feeling of 'returning' from a poem? Something is lighter, softer, larger - then it fades, but never completely.
As regards literary culture, it fascinates me that it has been so resilient to the Union. For example, when T.S. Eliot wanted to become poet in these lands, it wasn't as an English poet, it was an Anglian poet he wanted to be.
Scientists do stand on the shoulders of giants, just as do writers. Conversely, in the arts we do make discoveries. We do refine our tools. So I am arguing with, or at least playing with, the idea that art never improves.
I don't hold grudges.
I wouldn't mind being the lead guitarist in an incredibly successful rock band. However, I don't play the guitar.
A twenty-one-year-old writer is likely to be inhibited by a lack of usable experience. Childhood and adolescence were something I knew.
It is not the first duty of the novelist to provide blueprints for insurrection, or uplifting tales of successful resistance for the benefit of the opposition. The naming of what is there is what is important.
You can spin stories out of the ways people understand and misunderstand each other.
Now, I'm an atheist. I really don't believe for a moment that our moral sense comes from a god.