Stella Duffy was born in Woolwich, South London, and grew up in Tokoroa, New Zealand. She returned to London in her early 20s. She has written 13 novels, 10 plays, and many short stories. She is also a performer, an improviser and a theatre director, with a particular interest in devising/ensemble and work made in Open Space. She is looking forward to marrying Shelley Silas, also a writer, and her partner of 22 years, when Equal Marriage becomes law. Stella blogs at Not Writing But Blogging.
Why do you blog? > Usually because something riles, upsets or intrigues me. Very often when I am having a long Facebook conversation and I realize my point would be better made on my own page, at a length of my choosing.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Responding to a person who was directed to my blog by googling 'my daughter is struggling with her sexuality', with an open letter to the parents of anyone struggling with their sexuality. It was read many times, and continues to be, and I really hoped it helped.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Regularity helps. As does brevity.
What are you reading at the moment? > Sarah Quigley's The Conductor.
What is your favourite poem? > It changes, and often would be Emily Dickenson or Wallace Stevens, but today it's T S Eliot's The Wasteland.
What is your favourite movie? > All About Eve.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Well, one issue on which I've never changed my mind is that good quality education should be accessible and free for everyone.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That private education and private healthcare can ever be good for any society.
Who are your political heroes? > Michael Joseph Savage (NZ Prime Minister 1935-1940, architect of the Welfare State); Kate Sheppard (NZ suffragette, one of the women who gained universal suffrage 25 years before British women had the vote).
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Eliminate private education and spread those vast resources equitably across the nation for the better education of all.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Climate change, closely followed by (still??!!) nuclear proliferation.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > It's always yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > 'Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life.' (Nichiren Daishonin)
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.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Empathy.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Lying. (Though aggressive ambition is a very close second.)
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Very few.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I tend to think that people born into wealth and/or privilege don't often realize how lucky they are.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Shopping.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Health. Once you've had cancer, it's hard not to worry it will come back.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd pay more attention when my father told me the names of birds and of stars.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Pick up London, put it on the East Coast of New Zealand.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A weekend in Paris, two weeks in the Bay of Islands in NZ, four days in NYC on the way home.
What is your most treasured possession? > My father's WWII prisoner of war diary.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be like one of those people who can just pick up any instrument and play.
Who are your sporting heroes? > The All Blacks.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > This one's definitely much less realistic: I'd like an afternoon at Lake Whakamaru with my Mum and Dad. He's been dead 24 years, she's been dead nine, there are a few things we didn't get a chance to say, and it would be nice to go for a swim and then eat doorstep cheese sandwiches sitting on the old tartan rug.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Other than moving to a house with a swimming pool/by the sea, so I could more easily swim every day, I can't imagine wanting to change anything else.
[A list of all the normblog profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]