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What do people think of Paul Theroux?

What do people think of Paul Theroux?

"Judging by reviews, people think I’m cantankerous and ill-natured. But actually I’m hobbit-like, optimistic and have a lovely nature." Author Paul Theroux served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi in the 1960's.

What do people think of Paul Theroux?

Small talk: Paul Theroux

By Anna Metcalfe

Published: September 13 2008 02:04 | Last updated: September 13 2008 02:04

Paul Theroux was told by his mother that his first book was “trash”, which inspired him to carry on writing. Born in Massachusetts in 1941, Theroux studied in the US. He then spent seven years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and taught in Singapore before settling in England. A prolific novelist and travel writer, his most famous travelogue is The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), about his journey across Asia by train. Theroux is married with two sons, Louis and Marcel, and he divides his time between Cape Cod and Hawaii.

What book changed your life?

Richard Halliburton’s The Royal Road to Romance, which I read in my early teens. He bathed by moonlight in the Taj Mahal pool and swam the Panama Canal. It didn’t change my life so much as it gave me the direction I needed.

When did you know you were going to be a writer?

Very early on. But my family didn’t allow me to say it. To them I was going to be a doctor or a teacher, someone respectable and solvent.

Who is your perfect reader?

Someone like myself. Someone who travels, who is patient, ironical.

When do you write?

I write every day. A day without writing seems like a wasted day.

What is the strangest thing you’ve done in the name of research?

I once went into a dungeon with a dominatrix to see how she tortured her clients. This was for my book Nurse Wolf, now out of print.

What stimulates the writer in you?

Monotony, bad weather, contentment. I was very productive when I was in London.

Who wouldn’t you mind being stuck in a lift with?

A waitress bringing room service to the millionaire on the 31st floor, with a trolley full of food. Perhaps she’d also have a mobile phone.

What do people think of you?

Judging by reviews, people think I’m cantankerous and ill-natured. But actually I’m hobbit-like, optimistic and have a lovely nature.

How do you relax?

In solitude. Rowing a boat, riding a bike – an activity in the open air.

What are you most proud of writing?

The Mosquito Coast. It was banned in South Africa but Mandela’s government put it on the school syllabus.

What advice would you give to a budding author?

Leave home. Go as far away as possible from everything you know.

What does it mean to be a writer?

To be free. Not to have an employer, not to have to compete with anyone. It’s worth all the money you don’t make.

Paul Theroux’s latest book is ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’ (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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Headlines: September, 2008; RPCV Paul Theroux (Malawi); Figures; Peace Corps Malawi; Directory of Malawi RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Malawi RPCVs; Writing - Malawi

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Story Source: Financial Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Malawi; Writing - Malawi


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