Q&A with Jonathan Meades longlisted for An Encyclopaedia of myself
How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?
What research did you do for writing your book?
I remembered. And one memory leads to another. You start by exhuming one tomb and you soon find you have discovered the necrophiliac capability to dig up the entire graveyard.
How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?
To amend Duke Ellington: The question is not whether it is fiction or non-fiction. The question is whether it’s any good.
What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?
I read Housman’s poems most days of my life out of sheer and perennial delight. But maybe they’re fiction. So ‘Adaptive coloration in animals’ by Hugh Cott. ‘Memoir of a thinking radish’ by Peter Medawar.
What are you working on next?
A complicated novel which has absolutely nothing to do with me or my life: I’d claim it was pure invention save that no such thing exists.
Jonathan Meades is the author of An Encyclopaedia of myself (Fourth Estate)