Max Dunbar was born in London in 1981. He studied literature at Sheffield and Manchester. He writes fiction in his spare time, and is Manchester's regional editor for Succour magazine, a journal of new fiction and poetry. Max lives in central Manchester and blogs at Max Dunbar and Shiraz Socialist.
Why do you blog? > To provide an outlet for my obsessions and therefore prevent myself from boring my friends to death.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't take the medium too seriously and don't use the word 'blog' as a verb.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Christopher Hitchens, Aayan Hirsi Ali, George Orwell.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Weight of a Mustard Seed by Wendell Steavenson.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Irvine Welsh, Salman Rushdie, Stephen King.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > I can narrow that down to a list of 10. Of these, the one that springs to mind is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
What is your favourite poem? > William Blake's 'The Sick Rose' - the only poem I can recite from memory.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > My mind's always been torn in two about the Iraq war.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That this life is the only one we are sure of: better to make life as full and happy an experience as possible, both for yourself, and for people around you.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The idea that life is a waiting room for whatever happens after we die.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > What's Left by Nick Cohen – I think Cohen taught me the value of intellectual honesty.
Who are your political heroes? > Thomas Jefferson, Clement Attlee, and I'm still enthralled by Barack Obama.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > I don't remember who coined the phrase 'Socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the rest', but it gets more relevant by the day.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Reversal of the smoking ban.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Religion.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I don't think that capitalism is the pinnacle of human achievement. I think we'll eventually evolve beyond it.
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? > Yes. I like women I can argue with.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Altruism.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-satisfaction.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I've got a thing about people from Bolton. I just can't stand the accent.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Any sport that can't be played in a bar.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Amsterdam.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading, writing fiction, exercise, walking in the park, red wine, beer.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > I've always considered changing my second name to 'Power', like in the Simpsons episode 'Homer to the Max'.
What talent would you most like to have? > Practicality.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Stewart Lee.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Perfect mental health.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd simply write full time. I'd order red wine by the case. I'd like to buy a house in London, but then I would still have my agoraphobia to sort out – money can't buy you everything.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Christopher Hitchens, Kim Cattrall, Marjane Satrapi.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]