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'My aim is to entertain'

7 March 2022

‘There are moments when I'm writing a character, who might be from a different ethnicity to mine, or a different sex or gender or background. I start worrying about what the reaction might be because it's so unfathomable. And that is scary because writers shouldn't be following the agenda, they should be setting it. But that's not happening any more. You get writers making extraordinary statements, like Sebastian Faulks who said he would never describe what a woman looked like any more because that's objectifying.

Sebastian is a very clever person. And when he starts saying things like that all writers have to begin to tremble. Lionel Shriver goes to the press and makes statements which are deliberately, it seems, inflammatory. I don't want to go down that route. My aim is to entertain, to not get involved in spurious and unsolvable rows.'

Anthony Horowitz, author of 36 novels for children and adults, including The Magpie Murders and the Alex Rider series, in the Sunday Times Culture