Sarah Salway was born in Bedford, and went to school at Ely Cathedral, which means she is entitled to run a hoop down the nave. She studied journalism at the London College of Fashion and worked for Cosmopolitan amongst others in London, before moving to Edinburgh for 15 years. There she wrote for the Scotsman and started writing fiction. She has written three novels and a collection of short stories, and is currently writing her first detective novel. In 2010 she launched Speechbubble Books with Catherine Smith, to look at different ways of publishing short stories. Sarah is the RLF Fellow at the LSE. She blogs at Sarah Salway.
Why do you blog? > Because I enjoy the conversation. It adds to my present-day experience of something when I know I can share thoughts, photographs, jokes with other people.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Definitely the other people I have met through blogging. Even if I only just feel I know them through reading their blogs.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > To have a regular theme. However much you may start off with enthusiasm, you need some kind of structure if you are to keep going. This is why I started writing fifty-word stories to go with my photographs.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > She might be political, intellectual and cultural all rolled into one, but Jennie Lee would be at the top of many of my lists. My dad left school at 14 and even as a child I could see him opened up by the Open University modules he took. Then when I had children, I signed up too. If anything is a national treasure, the OU is. How lucky are we?
What are you reading at the moment? > I've just come back from New York so I stocked up with books, simply because I love the feel of American books. I'm reading Spoiled by Caitlin Macy, a collection of short stories about rich Manhattan women. A definite Gatsby feel to it.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > That's like asking which of my children I prefer. This year it has definitely been Home by Marilyn Robinson. I am still aching from how beautiful it is, and I think it will be my favourite for many years to come.
What is your favourite poem? > 'St Francis and the Sow' by Galway Kinnell.
What is your favourite movie? > Nuts in May by Mike Leigh. I can still make myself laugh out loud just thinking about how Keith and Candice-Marie make Ray sing.
What is your favourite song? > 'Life Is Long' by David Byrne and Brian Eno.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Gift by Lewis Hyde, because it changed how I see creativity now as having a concrete value. And also that it won't run out so I should just keep using it, giving it away as quickly as I can.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Does Kurt Vonnegut count? 'We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I would work to ensure that no child grows up in poverty or in fear. To me the best way of doing this would be to respect and fund our social workers properly.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > My husband. But I wouldn't want to be the PM's wife so I would have to clone him.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > It's always been greed, hasn't it? Of one sort or another. Particularly from the countries and people that seem to have a lot anyway, so maybe that's greed transformed into fear of losing it.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I am a great believer in human nature. I think/hope we will see a fairer and better world coming in the future, but it may be a different shape.
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? > No. But I think it would make for an exciting short time, sexy fling. Maybe for 10 minutes, followed by a lifetime of regretting. An ideal relationship for poets.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness. It's very underrated.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Narrow-mindedness.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have a physical and violent reaction to loud braying men who bully women (and other men) through their conversations.
What is your favourite proverb? > Don't meet troubles half way.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Everything. But these days I prioritize to worrying most about upsetting other people.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would have travelled more. I was too scared and fen-like when I was younger, but I see how even just taking a gap year has given my own children a wider perspective on what is possible.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > In a wood. With a log burning stove and a stream. And a fast train to London.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Exploring a new city during the day on my own and meeting friends and family in the evenings.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Eating, reading, family, making things, hiking. I climbed Kilimanjaro in September, so I'm definitely up for planning more adventures.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Syd.
What talent would you most like to have? > Singing. I love the idea of joining a choir, but am tone deaf. I've even been to those 'can't sing' classes and the teachers have given up.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Running a letterpress. Or carpentry.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Jockeys. I was brought up with horse-racing and used to hang round the winner's enclosures getting jockeys autographs the way most other girls chased pop stars.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > That some of us stop thinking about our students as the enemy and education as only a student problem.
[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.]