a-d-miller60 Seconds with AD Miller

A.D. Miller was born in London in 1974. He studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton, where he began his journalistic career writing travel pieces about America. Returning to London, he worked as a television producer before joining The Economist to write about British politics and culture. In 2004 he became The Economist’s correspondent in Moscow, travelling widely across Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is currently the magazine’s Britain editor; he lives in London with his wife Emma, daughter Milly and son Jacob. He wrote a critically acclaimed non-fiction book, The Earl of Petticoat Lane, in 2006. His fiction debut, Snowdrops, was shortlisted for the 2011 Booker Prize.

Which was your favourite childhood book?

archy and mehitabel

Where do you write? What objects are on your desk, and why?

In a shed. A pile of papers that I intend to sort through but never
will; and, for morale, a photo of my daughter and me shelling peas.

Which was the book that changed your life?

Not sure there was one, exactly. Maybe Lolita. Or the Old Testament.

Have your experiences as a travel writer made you particularly attuned
to location?

Perhaps. But you use it very differently in fiction.

Which writer(s) do you most admire?

Chekhov, WG Sebald, Melville, Dostoevsky, Isaac Babel.

Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?

Adumbrate. Kip.

Is there a book you were supposed to love but didn’t?

Lots.

Do people often assume that Nick, the narrator of Snowdrops is a thinly
disguised version of you?

Yes, often. One of the risks of first-person narration that I didn’t
anticipate.

What have you learned from writing?

Take risks. Take criticism. Keep going.

Are there any books you re-read?

Only Shakespeare.

You’ve written Booker shortlisted fiction, highly successful
non-fiction and you are the Britain editor of The Economist – where
are you most at home?

At Camden Town station, in the passage that connects the branches of
the Northern line.

What are you working on at the moment?

A novel about friendship, sex and money.
What’s the best filling for a jacket potato?

Butter and hope.

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