Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. She was educated at the Belvedere School (GDST), read English at the University of York, completed an M.A. in English at MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and did further post-graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, where she lived from 1977 to 1984.
In 1985 she returned to Britain and became a journalist. From 1995 to 2000 she was a feature writer for the Guardian, where between 1997 and 1998 she also had a weekly column in G2. She contributed regularly to the Weekend section on subjects including the background to the use of drug Ecstasy (for which she was shortlisted for the UK Press Gazette Feature Writer of the Year Award in 1996), body modification, racism against Romanies in the Czech Republic, her own journey to Jewish Poland and to her father's birthplace and during the Kosovo War, an examination of the background to Serb nationalism.
Her first book, Sexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution was published in 1993. Her first novel, The Cast Iron Shore, published in 1996, won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Remind Me Who I am Again, an account of her mother's decline into dementia and the role that memory plays in creating family history, was published in 1998 and won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year award and the Age Concern Book of the Year award. Her second novel, When I Lived in Modern Times, set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate, published in March 2000, won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize. Her novel, Still Here, published in 2002, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her non-fiction work, The People On The Street: A Writer's View of Israel, published in 2006, won the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage. Her latest novel, The Clothes On Their Backs, is published in February 2008.
She has written a radio play, Paul and Yolande, which was broadcast on Radio 4 in October 2006, and a short story, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, part of a week of stories by Liverpool writers commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, broadcast in July 2007.
She has also contributed to various collections of essays. Her work is translated into French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Czech, Russian, Polish, Turkish and Chinese.
She is currently thinking about clothes and what they mean to us.
Linda Grant lives in North London.
Small Talk - Linda Grant
By Anna Metcalfe
Published: February 2 2008
Linda Grant was born in Liverpool in 1951. She studied English at York and then became a journalist, writing a column for the Guardian from 1995 to 2000. Her first novel, Cast Iron Shore (1996), won the David Higham First Novel Award. When I Lived in Modern Times (2000) won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and Still Here (2002) was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Grant has also written three non-fiction books. Her latest novel, The Clothes on Their Backs, is out this month.
What is the last thing you read that made you laugh out loud?
The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable, by Hadley Freeman.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman which I'm rereading; The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl; Anita Brookner's The Latecomers.
When do you write?
Within 40 minutes of waking up. You're closest to your unconscious state at that time.
What is the best piece of advice a parent gave you?
My mother told me, ''a good handbag makes the outfit.''
How many words do you write per day?
I don't aim for a certain number and I never check at the end. I write until I start writing drivel, which is usually around noon.
Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?
Donna Karan, the fashion designer.
What are you scared of?
Falling. Confined spaces. And I'm a hypochondriac so I constantly think I'm going to die from some awful illness.
What keeps you awake at night?
Insomnia. And I wake in the night from very vivid dreams.
When do you feel most free?
When I sit down in the morning and I'm a third of the way through a novel that's going well.
Who would you choose to play you in a film about your life?
If you could own any painting, what would it be?
A Lucian Freud called Interior at Paddington.
Which literary character most resembles you?
I can't think of anyone literary, but I feel like the songs of Joni Mitchell are about my life.
What is your favourite place?
How do you cure writer's block?
I walk down Bond Street and look at the clothes.
Can you remember the first novel you read?
Hugely precociously it was Crime and Punishment, when I was 13.
What makes you cross to read?
Novels about nothing.
By jimmy in forum European Capital of Culture 2008
Last Post: 11-22-2008, 01:46 AM
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