The Three Rs: Joe Dunthorne

May 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Joe Dunthorne was born and brought up in Swansea. His debut novel, Submarine, was translated in to fifteen languages and made into a film. His debut poetry pamphlet was published by Faber. His second novel, Wild Abandon, is out now.

When did you first know you wanted to write books?

I spent my teenage years feeling assured that my destiny was to tour the world playing slap bass. So it wasn’t until university – and the shelving of that dream – that I thought seriously about writing.

What does your day look like while you’re writing a book?

When I’m in the dark heart of a book, I get up as early as I can — about 6.30am — eat vast amounts of porridge then get to my desk as quick as I can. I keep a graph, which I colour in and illustrate, to show my progress. Sometimes my writing day becomes more about making my graph look pretty than about literature. By 11am, I’m fading. From then on, I edit and procrastinate and make a nice lunch. I can edit all afternoon and evening if I need to but there’s only a small window of opportunity in the morning where I can write new words.

Joe's pretty graph

What do you read while you’re writing?

I used to believe in avoiding reading books that might be too influential. I’ve come to think that that’s nonsense. I now just try and make sure what I read is really, really good so that when I get influenced — as I inevitably do — it will be for the better.

What have you read recently that you really loved?

Three recent loves: Coetzee — Disgrace, Ishiguro — Remains of the Day, McCarthy — Blood Meridian.

What are your all-time favourites?

Today’s all-time favourites: Revolutionary Road — Richard Yates, White Noise — Don De Lillo, Slaughter-House Five – Kurt Vonnegut, anything by William Hazlitt.

You can either write or read for the rest of your life – but not both. Which do you choose?

Write, for sure.

What’s your third R? 

Breakfast.

Hardback UK Cover

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