AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Fatima Bhutto

Last year we spoke to Fatima Bhutto, author of Songs of Blood and Sword (Vintage), for our ‘on tour’ interview. Bhutto was due to appear at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, but was forced to pull out in the last minute. Happily, she has finally arrived in Australia, this time as a guest of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Who is the ideal reader for your book?
Anyone curious about Pakistan. Or the devastating effects of power.

What do you think of the Australian cover?
I’m thrilled—can’t wait to finally come and see the Australian print of the book in person as opposed to tiny email attachments …

What’s the best thing about book tours?
Best thing?

And the worst thing?
You’re away from writing, you have to speak to journalists all day long, there’s no time to read, I could go on …

What are you reading right now?
Before Night Falls
by Reinaldo Arenas (Serpent’s Tail) and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury).

What book do you wish you could have written?
The History of Love
by Nicole Krauss (Penguin). It’s such a beautiful, tender novel. It’s in my top five.

What book would you want with you on a desert island?
Can I not have a shelf? Something to keep the gloom away by David Sedaris. Fitzgerald for warmth. Alain de Botton to keep my questions alive.

Typewriter or computer?
Computer, no doubt.

Hardback, paperback or digital?
Hardback. Never, ever digital.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I wouldn’t.

If I were a literary character I’d be …
My favourite character of all time is Atticus Finch. I wish I could be him.