Mark Broatch is a journalist, critic and author, and an unashamed language nerd. After gaining an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Linguistics at one of New Zealand’s top universities he went on to be a senior editor and chief subeditor at three national publications. He will be in-store on Tuesday 11th September, 12-12:45pm to discuss his new book Word to the Wise: Untangling the Mix-Ups, Misuse & Myths of Language with fellow author Catherine Robertson. Below is his author interview.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?
Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, both of which I found in a library sale. Libraries are the best invention ever, followed closely of course by bookshops.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?
Science writers like Alice Roberts, Ed Yong, Mary Roach for the ideas.
Poets, for the language. Sci fi writers, my childhood gateway drug into reading. All the writers mentioned in the foreword of my book, for their brilliance.
WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. A NZ novel for review. Two massive books from the library for research for an author interview.
Tide by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. Grief is the Thing With Feathers. The New Animals. When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?
Arrival, from Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life. Annihilation. The Children Act looks terrific, at least in trailer form.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?
I tend to not re-read because my pile of unread books is so intimidating. Oh, apart from picture books, endlessly.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?
Peter Leigh, in The Book of Strange New Things.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?
Half the books on the shelves. The rest of Shakespeare. All the fairy tales in their original form.
WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?
This week, Christopher Hitchens, John Clarke, Les Murray.
WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?
I’d order in, so as not to miss anything, with my tape recorder discreetly running.
HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?
By colour in the lounge, by author in the “study”.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?
“Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.” – Flaubert
Or: “For when love is waiting / Logic will not do.” – Auden
A QUESTION FROM PREVIOUS AUTHOR INTERVIEWEE, MARY MCCALLUM:
“If you could take only three books with you to go and live in a new country, what would they be?”
Probably the OED, how sad is that. The fattest collection of great poetry I could find. The Complete New Yorker. A quantity of quality.