On tour: Patrick Gale
British writer Patrick Gale’s latest book, A Place Called Winter (Tinder Press), follows the life of Edwardian gentleman Harry Cane as he is forced to relocate to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Gale will be appearing at Adelaide Writers’ Week in February.
What would you put on a shelf-talker for your latest book?
Brokeback Mountain meets Maurice.
What are you reading right now?
I’m finally devouring Kate Atkinson’s incredible Life after Life (Black Swan) and suffering a serious attack of writerly envy: such a neat idea, punchily and wittily delivered.
What are you planning to read next?
I’m reading my Costa Book Award co-shortlistees Anne Enright (The Green Road, Jonathan Cape) and Melissa Harrison (At Hawthorn Time, Bloomsbury) next, with a diversion for Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney (Hodder & Stoughton), which looks incredible.
Which book do you always recommend?
Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Vintage) or Ann Patchett’s The Magician’s Assistant (HarperCollins) according to mood.
What was the defining book of your childhood?
It’s a close call between Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (HarperCollins) and the Puffin Book of Princesses, both of which I reread compulsively.
If you were a literary character you’d be …
I’d like to think impossibly sexy, noble and discreet Colonel Brandon, but the reality is I’m a toxic cross between Emma Woodhouse and Miss Bates—extremely bossy and hard to shut up.
What’s your favourite book adaptation (film, television or theatre)?
I love the 1995 film of Persuasion with Amanda Root, Ciaran Hinds, Fiona Shaw and Sophie Thompson. The casting is pitch perfect and the script caught precisely the novel’s balance of humour and romantic anguish.
What’s your favourite books website or blog?
Hardback, paperback or digital?
I find digital a bit charmless but use it a lot when travelling to save on excess baggage charges. Otherwise, if it’s worth reading, I don’t care what the format is; a good book is a good book.
Facebook or Twitter?
Both. I book a lot of face, I’m on Twitter as PnovelistGale and Instagram as Trevilley, but I’m currently on a digital sabbatical in an attempt to focus on the first draft of a new novel. I have the attention span of a moth and, however useful for publicising book tours, social media is a terrific distraction.
In 50 years’ time books will be …
Exactly as they are now, I suspect, though I fantasise that we’ll have arrived at the fully syncing, multi-platform format: a novel you can read to yourself on the train but which becomes some wonderful actor reading to you from where you left off the moment you start your car.