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Q&A with Caroline Moorehead, longlisted for 'Village of secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France'

Q&A with Caroline Moorehead, longlisted for 'Village of secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France'

Caroline Moorehead
Samuel Johnson Prize
non-fiction

How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?

I feel very honoured - this is a prize I have always admired.

What research did you do for writing your book?

I travelled round France in search of people to talk to and small local archives to consult, then went on to do the same in Israel and the US. The book is made up of personal interviews and what I learnt from memoirs, letters, reports, documents of every kind.

How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?

I worry that the kind of non-fiction I write, somewhere in the middle, mixture of biography and history, neither academic nor popular, may be less and less interesting to people. On the other hand I love - and envy - the excellent historical fiction currently being written and would write it myself if I could.

What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?

I think that Duff Cooper's biography of Talleyrand is a model of its kind.

What are you working on next?

Volume 3 of what I see as a trilogy on resistance, about an Italian family of antifascists, the Rossellis, who were murdered by Mussolini.

 

Caroline Moorehead is author of Village of secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France (Chatto & Windus)

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