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lunch with your favourite writer

edited October 2005 in - Writing Tales


  • Here I am still struggling with my powerpoint for the work presentation and my mind has definitely begun to wander.  I was just thinking that if I could have lunch with any writer, chat to them about their experiences and ideas, pick their brains etc then I would probably choose Charles Dickens.  I love Great Expectations and many of his other books and I'd ask him about the colourful characters who appear in his work. Who do you all fancy having lunch with and why?  You can choose any writer, living or dead.
  • Alan Bennett, Stephen Fry, and David Lodge for me.  When I'm dining in the afterlife it might be Thomas Hardy, Rupert Brooke because he's so beautiful, and loads of other poets.
  • Sir Walter Scott as I've loved his writing since reading Ivanhoe, The Talisman and Kenilworth in primary school;  Tolstoy as Anna Karenina gave me a love of Russian classics, and Walter de la Mare whose The Listeners introduced me to the wonderful world of poetry.
  • Wow  David Lodge and Carole Matthews.
  • My, my...  What interesting suggestions.  Perhaps we should turn this into a party and get all these people together....
  • What a fantastic question to ponder!  I could never make a final decision though.  Would be handy to have the ability to summon up different writers according to your lunch-time mood! 

    I might choose one of the classic masters tomorrow, but today I have been thinking about sit-coms (while actually writing non-fiction) and I could do with a laugh, so Victoria Wood would have been welcome to pop in for a sandwich and a chat about her "Dinnerladies" series!
  • I would love to meet J K Rowley and talk about the times she sat in the cafe scribbling.  Just like I sometimes do now actually!!
  • I would have liked Ted Hughes today!  "The donkey's on fire" - fantastic!  Talking of donkeys, did Harry ever come back? 
  • Who's Harry?  Is he coming to lunch too?  If donkeys are involved then perhaps we should plan for an outdoor event.  Anyone fancy a barbecue?

    I'm really enjoying reading all your contributions by the way.
  • Hi Lily,

    Harry was part of the gang writing an on-going story weeks ago (like the "back door closing" one) set at the beach. We moved on, but Harry disappeared!  A couple of weeks back we were wondering if Harry was still at the beach.  The story mentioned donkeys, hence me jumping from Ted Hughes to the mysterious disappearance of Harry!  Perhaps he got a job in a light house and can't get broadband any more?
  • This question really makes you think, doesn't it? Well, I'd like to have lunch with Bram Stoker, I'd like to ask how he came up with the character of Dracula.
  • I would like to have lunch with C.S.Lewis. I enjoyed his 'The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe' as a child. Then I read the rest of the Narina books when my wife was reading them to our son. I'd also like lunch with Conon Doyle or Wodehouse or Edward Lear. As to Harry, I heard that he got eaten by a crocodile with a clock inside him.
  • I bet Harry was ALARMED!  (V.bad joke, but couldn't resist it).  I loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child too.  I used to sleep walk, and apparently got into the wardrobe at home a couple of times after reading it before I went to sleep!
  • I think i'd quite like to have lunch with Tolkien.
    He's a pretty interesting fella. I grew up being read Lord of the Rings.
    The real question now is what would we have for lunch? Hmmm........
  • maybe bret easton ellis or john wyndham. someone who would surprise me i guess
  • Patricia Cornwell, Poppy Z. Brite and Sarah Churchwell, who wrote a fabulous book about Marilyn Monroe which I would love to discuss with her.
  • Terry Pratchett (I've met him a couple of times, and he makes me laugh), Anne Rice, Joanne Harris, Michele Roberts (I've met her, too), Xinran, the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, Dickens (born in my local city of Portsmouth).... *thinks*  That's it for the moment.
  • Shakespeare.
  • Pardon my ignorance, but why is that, Dorothy?

    I would like to go on a lunch date with R F Delderfield. At present he is my favourite author, but I'm fickle. It could be someone else next week.
  • Having recently been to a talk with Simon Brett, and having the guts to actually speak to him, I think it would have to be him at the minute - he was hysterical!
  • I agree with Lixxy.  Simon Brett was brilliant as a speaker and writer.  Wish I could have heard more about him. A rare and very underestitmated talent.  Can WN please write a profile on him sometime?
  • If I was given an opportunity to fly to the UK from my home in New Zealand to have lunch with my favourite writer it would either be Carole Matthews or Jill Mansell.  I have become addicted to their books as they both write so well, grabbing my attention.  A skill I would talk to them about while having lunch with them!!
  • For me, I think I would like to lunch with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephanie Laurens and... too many others. I have to agree with what was said about Simon Brett. He came to speak to our writers club this June, and he is so amusing. We all benefited from his talk, as no one left feeling miserable or bored.
  • I'd like to have lunch with Lewis Carrol, just to ask if he was tripping when he wrote of Alice's adventures.
  • Ooh, I'd like to add Alison Weir to my list. All this talk about Tudor slander reminded me!
  • Could I have have lunch with Richard Bell? Richard who? You know the geezer who writes about grammar in our fab mag. I would like to ask him if it is alright to write alright or do I have to write all right?
  • So has no one a comment on my reply?????
  • Hello Stan2.  Since I asked the question I hereby give you permission to have lunch with Richard Bell.  I used to write alright but a friend insisted it was wrong so now I write all right.  I would still like to know the answer for sure though so do let me know if you find out!
  • Ask Betsie [Tongue in cheek].
  • Hello Stan. My Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary (a whopping great tome and great for pressing flowers in) has the following to say about all right/alright.

    Usage: It used to be said that ‘it is not all right to write alright.’ Formal written English still prefers two words, ‘all right’, but ‘alright’ is increasingly common, presumably on analogy with ‘altogether’, ‘already’ and ‘almost’.

    The words that I have put between inverted commas are printed in Italics in the book, but this forum can’t do those.

    So, I would say that it appears that it is alright to use either all right or alright, so long as you are consistent. All right?
  • I think we should all write alright or all right depending on which one for you is alright/all right...alright?
  • ps the writer I would love to have lunch with is that wonderful Irish writer William Trevor..`Felicia`s Journey` is the best psychological thriller I have ever read...
  • Woody, are you related to Woody Allen? And would you like lunch with him?
  • Not to my knowledge Stan although if there was any money to be handed down I could probably find some sort of link, however tenuous. As for lunch, well the man has been a great comic actor, but as to his private life.....
  • Hi Stan2. It might be safer to stick to "all right". In the grammar guide "Write Right!" - published by David St John Thomas (i.e WN) - it has a curt entry for "alright". It reads: Common misspelling of the words all right. I imagine Richard bell would tow the party line on that one!

    As for lunch, I'd like to have a meal cooked by Patricia Cornwell (I love the recipes she slips into her Scarpetta narratives) in the company of all the Talkback writers for some lively conversation. (The Peterborough crew are obliged to attend because I grew up there and would love to reminisce.) The mischeivous side of me would like to ask Dan Brown to wash up.
  • .. and the even more mischievous side likes to misspell mischievous ...
  • re Dan Brown Howard, Where do you stand on his novels? I think there has been a lot of pretentious rubbish written  about them but at the end of the day he has done what I suspect a lot of the critics would like to do ie write a Best Seller! Personally I found the Da Vinci Code a really good `page turner`so good luck to him...
  • I say good luck to him as well, Woody. Who wouldn't enjoy such success? However, I didn't like the book very much although some of the ideas were thought provoking.
  • My choice would be the wonderful American writer, Elizabeth Berg. Her books are incredible, the characters just jump off the page and into your heart!
    Actually she has also written a superb book on writing called 'Escaping into the open - the art of writing true' which is one of the most inspirational books on writing that I have ever read. She also loves food, and would you believe, publishes her own favourite collection of recipies at the end of this book!
  • With the help of a ouija board I'd like lunch with CS Lewis. I loved the Narnia Chronicles. The bit where Narnia comes into being in The Magician's Nephew still affects me some 25 years after reading it. Agatha Christie-a large chunk of my teens spent with her. The living would have to include JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett because I would like to absorb their sheer genius by osmosis and dear old Stephen King, a much maligned author of incredible talent. I suspect that the reviewers of a certain snooty broadsheet have never actually comlpeted one of his books when they say things like "New Stephen King novel. Does anyone still care?" I do Steve, I do
  • Absolutely, me too.  I haven't read all his books, but I do think he's an incredible writer.
  • I think one of my favourite writers I would like to meet would be Oscar Wilde. What genius wit! I think the harshness he faced against a powerfully homophobic time was very sad. 
    I have to say Terry Pratchett and J K Rowling would be two amazing writers who I would find very inspiring.
    I did love the book Toast written by Nigel Slater. Maybe he could cook all those wonderful tradtional meals that he so loved in his youth! x
  • I think I have read all of Mr King's books and with one or two exceptions I have been awestruck. I'd really love to talk to him. I'd especially ask how he is coping with the onset of blindness which must be awful. Can I add LP Hartley to my list. I think he produced the very best ever opening line (in my opinion) in The Go Between
  • I'd never ask her to my party but I'd like to ask JK Rowling why she never ever smiles.  Honestly, I've seen happier Christmas turkeys.  Does anyone else agree?
  • Another author I would love to have met is Laurie Lee. i just missed him once when my wife and I stopped off at his favourite (only!) pub in Slad where he was born and brought up. He had just left his favourite corner seat and gone home for lunch. I should like to have asked him why, with such a talent, he wrote so little, his best-known work being of course `Cider with Rosie`. Having read his biography I think he would have told me it was plain laziness and that he just enjoyed having a good time. I went back last year and found his grave in the local churchyard overlooking the valley he loved so much.A great descriptive writer, such a pity about his meagre output.
  • I thought about this for a while before I settled upon a choice...
    I would like to meet Edgar Allen Poe and ask him about his poetry, discuss his tales - I think he was a wonderful writer and feel that there are many layers to what he wrote. I love (what seems to me) the honest emotion in his poetry and the bite of the tales he wrote. I think he's marvellous.
  • Can't believe there are any happy Christmas Turkeys, Sal!
    Because I am writing an historical novel I should love to meet Sarah Waters and Roddy Doyle, both brilliant writers.
  • MIne would be George Orwell and maybe Oscar Wilde would come second.
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