Q&A with longlisted author Richard Morris
How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?
Surprised, partly because I’d forgotten about it, but mainly because to be mentioned among so many wonderful books feels strange.
What research did you do for writing your book?
Some of the material came from my own working experience. Gathering the rest included visits to places, archives, and reading a lot of specialist sources, all spread over ten years.
How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?
They’re well up there, and always have been. Give it a second or two and lots of titles and authors will come to mind.
What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?
The Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names. On one level it is etymological and dry; on another it catches the personality of England’s landscape, languages and history. And by dipping into it I can imagine myself at the places concerned.
What are you working on next?
Interwar England: An Aerial History looks at social and economic change through aerial photographs. Earthquake, Wind and Fire is a new biography of the aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis.
Richard Morris is the author of Time’s Anvil (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)