“I’d love to write a novel” – Clegg

Nick Clegg has revealed in an interview his “shockingly bad” attempts at penning a novel on his early twenties. But, as the Independent reports, despite this early setback the deputy prime minister is still keen to try again, spurred on by his passion for fiction:

In an interview with Easy Living magazine, he said he would still like to write one in the “simple, sparse” style of the double Booker Prize winning JM Coetzee.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he reads “religiously, every night before I go to sleep”.

He added: “I cannot think of a time when I have finished the day without reading just a few pages of a novel.

“There’s no more wonderful escape at the end of any day – whether it’s a good or bad day – than to lose yourself in a great big novel.”

Mr Clegg said his first attempt at his own novel was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Autumn Of The Patriarch and was written from the perspective of “a man at the end of his life – which is quite an odd thing to do in your early 20s”.

“I wrote about 120 pages; it was shockingly bad and will never see the light of day. But I would still love to write a novel,” he said

“I find writing very therapeutic. I would love to emulate the style of one of my favourite writers, JM Coetzee, although I don’t think I ever could.

“But I love that very simple, sparse style – not a single surplus word. It’s almost barren; so beautiful.”

Clegg was interviewed for Easy Livings “My Life in Books” feature, as part of which he picked out the following seven books:

* Nick Thornsby is a day editor at Lib Dem Voice.

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  • I quite liked the Tiger who came to tea, too…

  • Thumbs up on the Marquez.

    As someone who has written and had a novel published, I hope that he will attempt to write a novel once his time in office is done; we’re saturated with political memoirs, do something different! Fiction chronicles the sentiments and social realities of an age in a way that is difficult to encapsulate in biography. Biographies tell you something; fiction shows.

  • I read Two Concepts of Liberty about five years ago. Brilliant book and one which I could engage with at more than just an academic level (I initally set out to read it as part of a law assignment) but also bedtime reading.

  • If he wants to take a couple of years off to write a novel I won’t object.

  • Fattipuffs and Thinifers was my favourite (no prices for who I identified with!), and there was a great Judith Kerr exhibition at the Children’s Museum last year.

  • Tony Dawson 8th Jun '12 - 7:42am

    “Hywel :

    If he wants to take a couple of years off to write a novel I won’t object.”

    “‘Coalition’: a romantic fiction about an arranged marriage where the parties thought they were equal. It degenerates into a very uncivil partnership where the parties have no exit strategy other than the death of one or other.” 🙂

  • Tony Dawson 8th Jun '12 - 7:44am

    He missed ‘Little Gold Riding Hood’ off his list!

  • I read Jenkins’ Gladstone book on my honeymoon… 🙂

  • Actually, Nick needs to be careful. Some people will arrgue that our manifetso is precisely that!

  • David Allen 9th Jun '12 - 12:33am

    The oeuvre in sequence:

    Great Expectations
    The Odd Couple
    A Christmas Carol
    Goodbye Mr Chips
    The English Patient
    The Sense of an Ending

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