Skip to Content

'The imagination doesn't crop annually'

25 January 2021

‘The imagination doesn't crop annually like a reliable fruit tree. The writer has to gather whatever's there: sometimes too much, sometimes too little, sometimes nothing at all. And in the years of glut there is always a slatted wooden tray in some cool, dark attic, which the writer nervously visits from time to time; and yes, oh dear, while he's been hard at work downstairs, up in the attic there are puckering skins, warning spots, a sudden brown collapse and the sprouting of snowflakes. What can he do about it?'

Julian Barnes, author of 25 books, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, Arthur & George, England, England, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters and The Sense of an Ending, which won the Booker Prize in 2011.