Sarah Annes Brown was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1966. She studied at Bristol University and is now a Professor of English at Anglia Ruskin University. Her main research interest is the influence of classical texts (particularly Ovid) on English literature and she is currently writing a book about the relationship between allusion and the uncanny in literature. One of her favourite writers is Georgette Heyer and she will be hosting the first conference dedicated to Heyer's Regency romances in November at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Sarah blogs at Ariachne's Broken Woof.
Why do you blog? > It's a good way of trying out little ideas which might develop into longer articles (or which never could in a million years), and it's also useful for giving events organized by myself or my colleagues a bit more web presence. And Google Analytics is a hobby in itself.
What has been your best blogging experience? > In terms of hits to the website, it was when normblog linked to my resignation letter from the UCU.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > I have had some slightly tense moments on Harry's Place.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Little and often. (Or, if not often, regularly at least.)
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Stephen Hinds is my favourite literary critic. I nearly always find Frank Furedi congenial on issues to do with Higher Education.
What are you reading at the moment? > I'm reading Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, an indictment of labour conditions in early 20th-century Chicago. I'm also (re)reading The Foundling by Georgette Heyer which is a bit more jolly.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Ovid, Sid Meier, Marc Veyrat and – at least for this year – Andrew Strauss (sorry).
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Mansfield Park.
What is your favourite poem? > Marvell’s 'The Garden', Paradise Lost, and In Memoriam.
What is your favourite movie? > Some Like It Hot, Cabaret and Singin' in the Rain.
Who is your favourite composer? > Mozart.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Well, when I was about 16, I really admired Ken Livingstone.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Universal human rights.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Moral relativism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > I read Road to Wigan Pier and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in my teens and they both had a shaping influence on my views – though in the case of Orwell it was more because the book made me think about issues I hadn't thought about before than because it fixed my views on those issues.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > I was half inclined to put down Tony Blair but a post on Butterflies and Wheels has just reminded me how annoying he can be (about God). Kenan Malik always seems soothingly sensible when I hear him on Radio 4 – although please note that I haven't made a systematic audit of his political views.
What would you do with the UN? > I'm opposed to the attempts being made in the UN Human Rights Council to outlaw religious defamation.
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? > My husband votes Conservative and I vote Labour – so, yes. (Though actually we seem to agree about most things, particularly the Liberal Democrats.)
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity and consistency.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-importance.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Games/sports teachers make me feel nervous.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Country walks.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My children.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Keep in touch with more people.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A leisurely tour of French Relais et Chateaux hotels and/or Michelin-starred restaurants.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading, playing computer games, checking out other people's blogs, answering online quizzes and questionnaires.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Georgette Heyer. I know she is thought of as a romantic novelist but she is one of the few writers who regularly makes me laugh out loud.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > For a prestigious academic press to decide that a monograph on the relationship between allusion and the uncanny was the one thing missing from their catalogues.
[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.]