Five minutes with longlisted author Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?
It's the most delightful surprise.
What research did you do for writing your book?
I spent weeks - months - in the manuscript division of the New York Public Library with the Diana Vreeland Papers and in other archives. I talked to many people who remember her, and I did research I wouldn't otherwise have done, like look at Diana Vreeland's clothes in museum collections with the help of curators. I also spent ages reading back issues of Harper's Bazaar and American Vogue though I have great trouble convincing anyone this counts as anything, let alone research.
How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?
I can only speak for myself here. I've never known a moment when there was quite so much exciting non-fiction being published. It's hard to keep up.
What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?
Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives by Daisy Hay because a) she's my daughter and b) it's a terrific book.
What are you working on next?
I'm still thinking about it.... I'm afraid you're not talking to the world's most decisive writer.
Amanda Mackenzie Stuart is the author of Diana Vreeland: Empress of Fashion (Thames & Hudson)