Tania Hershman was born in London and moved to Jerusalem in 1994. After studying Maths and Physics at university, she worked for 13 years as a science and technology journalist before giving up journalism to write fiction full-time. Her short and very short stories have been published in print and online publications, including The Cafe Irreal, The Hiss Quarterly, Vestal Review, Steel City Review, and Creating Reality. She has had three stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and is a founder member of the Fiction Workhouse online writing collective. Tania's first collection, The White Road and Other Stories, will be published by Salt Publishing in 2008. She is the editor of The Short Review, a site dedicated to reviewing short story collections and anthologies. Tania blogs at Titania Writes.
Why do you blog? > Because I am a writer. Because writing is lonely. Because I thought I had something to share about the writing experience. Because I hoped I'd find like-minded people out there.
What has been your best blogging experience? > When I blogged a year ago about how reading about other writers' successes made me jealous and angry, and how I felt guilty about feeling like that, I got such an outpouring of supportive comments from fellow writers and friends, and it made me feel much better.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Well, it wasn't that bad, but I wrote a blog post about the National Short Story Prize last year, moaning that all the five shortlisted writers were well-known - only to have Julian Gough, the eventual winner, turn up on my blog and comment that he isn't well known at all, having published just one novel. I felt really silly... and it also showed me for the first time that what I write on my blog is not just for my own private enjoyment! I was very glad he stopped by.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > I think it is a fine line between expressing yourself fully and freely and remembering that this blog is on the Internet; it's a public space, it will be read by others, and it is worth taking that into account.
What are your favourite blogs? > My friend and writer buddy Vanessa's blog, Vanessa Gebbie's News, is full of useful advice and honesty about writing and the writing world. I also regularly read a friend's (anonymous) blog, Slightly Mad, about life here in the Middle East. Then there's Kay Sexton's great blog about writing, Writing Neuroses... mine are rare, yours may be legion. I could go on...
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Einstein is a huge hero of mine. I have pictures of him on the walls of my study. He said 'Imagination is more important than knowledge', which speaks to me. Also the physicist Richard Feynman is a hero because while he was a genius, he also had a fascinating take on the world around us and tried his best to transmit his love for science in an entertaining and accessible way.
What are you reading at the moment? > Several short story collections: Breaking it Down by Rusty Barnes, which I have just started and am greatly enjoying, and Diane Williams's Excitability: Selected Stories 1986-1996, which is very strange, surreal and beautiful.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. Not strictly a novel.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Leisure' by W.H. Davies.
What is your favourite movie? > Trust, directed by Hal Hartley. Bizarre and quirky - a very moving film about love.
What is your favourite song? > 'Sweet Dreams Are Made of This', by the Eurythmics.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Hmm, not sure if this counts, but Joshua Sobol's play Ghetto, which I saw in London at the age of 18 or 19, had a major impact on me - that was the turning point in my beginning to feel proud about being Jewish and expressing myself as a Jewish woman.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Richard Branson to be Israeli Prime Minister. Maybe he could sort this mess out.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Live today as if tomorrow might be your last.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I don't see why not. I love a good argument.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Honesty.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Unreliability.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have a hard time with people who don't analyse situations and who accept things at face value.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Carpe diem.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Talking about politics.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Not living up to my full potential, letting opportunies slip by. Oh, and world peace.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd be tougher with people who called themselves friends but didn't behave accordingly, and nicer to people I may have dismissed without cause.
What would you call your autobiography? > Words, words, words.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Emma Thompson - so everyone always tells me!
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Sydney, Australia. It's like London - but with better weather and nicer people.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A writing retreat, in Ireland. Somewhere like Anam Cara.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Knitting, trying to make pottery, watching films.
What talent would you most like to have? > I'd like to be able to draw.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Physics teacher.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd set up a foundation to promote the short story.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Einstein, Richard Feynman and Golda Meir.
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