There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.
There's something peculiar about writing fiction. It requires an interesting balance between seeing the world as a child and having the wisdom of a middle-aged person. The further you get from childhood and the experience of the teenage years, the greater the danger of losing that wellspring.
People aren't quite sure what it means when a book is a Booker Prize winner. They're not quite sure what is being recommended, what literary values it stands for, because every year it stands for something different.
Even though I spent the first five years of my life in Nagasaki, going to Japan can be really difficult. Even if they know I've been brought up in the West, they still expect me to understand all the subtleties of their culture, and if I get it wrong, it matters much more than if a British person gets it wrong. I find it intimidating.
Now when I look back to the Guildford of that time, it seems far more exotic to me than Nagasaki.
I don't have a deep link with England like, say, Jonathan Coe or Hanif Kureishi might demonstrate. For me, it is like a mythical place.