Kate Atkinson MBE (born 1951) is an English author.
She was born in York, and studied English Literature at the University of Dundee, gaining her Masters Degree in 1974. She subsequently studied for a doctorate in American Literature. She has often spoken publicly about the fact that she failed at the viva (oral examination) stage. After leaving university, she took on a variety of jobs from home help to legal secretary and teacher. She lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire, for a time, but now lives in Edinburgh.
1. ETHICS ARE NOT NECESSARILY TO DO WITH BEING LAW-ABIDING. I AM VERY INTERESTED IN THE MORAL PATH, DOING THE RIGHT THING.
2. ALTERNATE HISTORY FASCINATES ME, AS IT FASCINATES ALL NOVELISTS, BECAUSE ‘WHAT IF?’ IS THE BIG THING.
3. ‘FEMINISM’ IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLY AWKWARD WORD FOR US THESE DAYS, ISN’T IT? NOT TO BE FEMINIST WOULD BE BIZARRE, WOULDN’T IT?
4. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED MYSTERIES, THE SOMETHING THERE THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW, AND WITH ‘CASE HISTORIES’ I JUST DECIDE TO MAKE THAT MORE UP-FRONT.
5. NOT BEING PUBLISHED WOULD BE GREAT. WHEN I SAY THAT TO OTHER WRITERS THEY LOOK AT ME AS IF I’M TOTALLY INSANE.
6. A NOVEL AND ITS WRITER ARE INSEPARABLE: YOU ARE YOUR BOOKS. A PLAY’S NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL. ‘ABANDONMENT”S NOT MINE – IT’S EVERYONE’S. I WANTED IT TO BE A CO-OPERATIVE THING BECAUSE I WAS TIRED OF THAT ANAL CONTROL THAT I HAVE OVER NOVELS.
7. CERTAINLY I HAD A REALLY TERRIBLE TIME WITH ‘EMOTIONALLY WEIRD.’ WHEN I FINISHED IT, I THOUGHT, ‘I CAN’T WRITE ANY MORE.’
8. I SPENT FOUR YEARS DOING A DOCTORATE IN POSTMODERN AMERICAN LITERATURE. I CAN RECOGNIZE IT WHEN I SEE IT.
9. IT’S BEEN SAID THAT THE MEN IN MY BOOKS HAVE BEEN ABSENT, OR WEAK, OR CREEPY.
10. THE GREAT THING ABOUT WRITING COMPARED TO LIFE IS GETTING TO TIE THINGS UP.
11. I DID FEEL WHEN MY MOTHER DIED IF ANYONE WAS GOING TO HAUNT ME IT WOULD BE HER. AND SHE HASN’T, SO I THINK IT IS POSSIBLY THE END.
12. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A UNIQUE VOICE, THEN YOU’RE NOT REALLY A WRITER.
13. PROBABLY NOT NEEDING TO BE PUBLISHED WOULD GIVE ME MORE TIME TO THINK ABOUT A BOOK.
14. THE CULT OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS KILLING US. I THINK TWITTER SIGNALS THE DEATH OF WESTERN CIVILISATION, BUT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT SINCE DEMOSTHENES.
15. MY WORK IS NOT MY LIFE. I STARTED WRITING QUITE LATE, I DIDN’T HAVE THAT ‘WRITING IS EVERYTHING, MY ART IS ALL.’ YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNISE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO.
16. WITHOUT SIBLINGS YOU GET QUITE A SKEWED VISION OF YOURSELF AND OF THE WORLD. I ALWAYS FELT I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKED. I REMEMBER FEELING QUITE LONELY.
17. WRITING FOR ME IS QUITE A PLASTIC FORM, A KIND OF MENTAL SCULPTURE, ALTHOUGH THAT SOUNDS WEIRD. IT ACQUIRES ITS CHARACTER AND ITS DEPTH AS IT GOES ALONG.