There are still some terrible cliches in the presentation of Indian fiction. The lotus flower. The hennaed hands. In mainland Europe, people still slap these images on my books and I go bananas.
I can see a version of my life where it all becomes meaningless. On a good day, writing seems noble. Other times, it's narcissistic and pointless.
Say there are three identical-looking pizza joints on a street. Two of those will always be empty. The third will have a line of people patiently waiting, checking their phones. There's always one place that's the place. That's how it works.
I stand on my public record as a defender of the human rights of Muslims, notably my work for Moazzam Begg and other British Muslims detained without trial in Guantanamo Bay.
I'm fascinated by the emergence of a global class. They're highly mobile; they reject the idea of place.
Intellectuals who live in Hungary, or who wish to work or lecture there, are extremely circumspect in their criticism.
But it's the particularity of a place, the physical experience of being in a place, that makes it onto the page. That's why I don't just do library research. I very rarely write about somewhere I haven't been.
I like moral judgment to emerge from the reader. We are being sold a very simplistic morality by our leaders at a time when nuance and understanding are at a premium.
I suffer from vertigo. It's paralyzing in extreme situations. The most scared I've been as an adult was trying to conquer that fear by going climbing in Wales.
Some books I've kept because the binding is beautiful - I'm unlikely ever to read my grandmother's copy of 'The Life of Lord Nelson.' I'm addicted to secondhand bookshops.
Suburbia is all about private ownership and not having to share, and it leads to a paranoid, defensive mindset. I know this, having grown up in Essex.
These days we're all hyper-aware of the canonical way in which stories are supposed to play out - people are taught all about three-act scripting and where to put the reversal and all of that - and I think we can do more interesting narratives.
As I got older I became a kind of sub cultural junkie, foraging around in music, street fashion and eventually art, politics and the freakier reaches of the Internet, hunting the next discovery, the next seam of underground gold.
Being in Harlem on the night of Barack Obama's election was extraordinary. It was the best street party I have ever gone to, and it felt like the period of American history which began with slavery had ended that evening.
I'm interested in complexity, in the mathematical sense, as well as the idiomatic sense. The idea of emergence - that it's possible for complex patterns to arise out of many simple interactions - is fascinating.
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