Linda Grant was born in Liverpool. She is a writer and journalist. Her novel When I Lived in Modern Times won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000. She writes mainly for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph and increasingly rarely about politics, preferring to investigate how we dress. Her blog, The Thoughtful Dresser, was begun to examine these matters.
Why do you blog? > I started the blog as an experiment, after studying a few. It is a way of allowing me to control what I write and to reach and interact with a wider readership
What has been your best blogging experience? > Discovering that there are many intelligent people who are as interested in clothes as I am
What has been your worst blogging experience? > The tyranny of the Site Meter.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Study other blogs; the form is different from old skool print media.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Kate Millett, whose book Sexual Politics changed everything when I arrived to study English at university.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Kafka for getting on with it while spitting blood, David Grossman for writing like a god and speaking out like a mensch, and Coco Chanel for inventing modern dress.
What is your favourite movie? > Toss up between Once Upon a Time in America and Letter from an Unknown Woman.
What is your favourite song? > 'Hejira' by Joni Mitchell.
Who is your favourite composer? > Well, my favourite piece of music is Schoenberg's 'Verklärte Nacht'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to think the Bolshevik revolution was a good idea gone wrong. Now I think it was a bad idea whose poison was inherent in it.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'The only true and lasting meaning of the struggle for life lies in the individual, in his modest peculiarities and his right to these peculiarities.' (Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate)
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Any overarching big idea which explains everything - basically most things which end in an 'ism'. Particularly those ideas which treat their enemies as walking containers of antagonist concepts rather than flesh and blood human beings - Islamist! Zionist! colonialist!
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > I would choose Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, which is a work of fiction but nonetheless the book that entirely altered my world view. I now believe that the individual act of kindness, large or small, is more potent than ideology.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Fund long-term care.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Climate change, duh.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Unless we sort out climate change, life will be grim in the next century.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Make hay while the sun shines. (But anti-Semitism is a light sleeper.)
What personal fault do you most dislike? > People with no sense of humour frighten me.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I'm a novelist, I lie for a living.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > People who wear Crocs for any other purpose than cleaning out the algae from ponds should understand that while they may be comfortable, the rest of us are obliged to look at them.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'The only thing worse than being skint is looking as if you're skint.' (Grant family motto)
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I am a hypochondriac. I constantly worry about that pain, there.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd buy fewer, but more expensive clothes from the word go.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > It really saddens me that it is looking increasingly unlikely that I will ever live in a large doorman apartment overlooking Central Park, a cab's ride or even a walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Barneys.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Walking up Bond Street early in the morning just as the shops are opening or lying on the sofa reading a novel.
What is your most treasured possession? > It's a toss up between my grandfather's alien passbook, issued during WWI, with the family history in it, or my gold, jade and labradorite necklace bought in Tel Aviv and which I truly love.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be able to sing like Aretha Franklin.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > I saw Jackie Mason a few years ago and my bones hurt the next morning from laughing so much.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Liverpool FC, of course.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Kafka, for the jokes, Saul Bellow to go to bed with afterwards and Joni Mitchell to record the evening in song.
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