Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, columnist and Salonierre. Maggie & Me, his memoir about coming of age and coming out in Thatcher's Britain, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Memoir of the Year winning the Paddy Power Political Books 'Satire' Award and Stonewall Writer of the Year. Damian writes columns for the Big Issue and High Life and often appears on BBC Radio 4. He is creator and host of his own Literary Salon at the Savoy which premieres work from established and emerging writers. Damian is the first ever Literary Ambassador at the Savoy. You Will Be Safe Here is his debut novel coming in 2019. Damian lives in Brighton.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness is never perfect and that's what makes it so. Accepting this means me can find more happy moments and be conscious of them when they occur.
Which living person do you most admire?
Diana Athill--she's an inspiration personally and professionally. She was born during a zepelling raid (zepellin!) in 1917. Now 100, she lives more in a day than most of us do in a month. She's totally engaged and writes every day. Kerouac, Naipul and Keane all the joy of being edited by her before she turned her hand to memoir.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Time--using it to read books I don't absolutely have to.
What is your current state of mind?
Wandering. I have just finished the edits on my first novel and there are another FOUR stories now jostling to be told. This from a man who never planned to write a novel. So I am trying to listen to these voices and not just let the loudest one win.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Delicious--everything is delicious right now.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Do we mean super-power? Or do we mean talent? Hmmm. I'd love to be able to ride a bike hands-free. It looked cool when I was ten. It looks good now.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd be a bit kinder to myself.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My friendships both life-long and new.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
My chickens have a rather lovely life--all the corn they want, little tickles behind their ears (yes, chickens have ears). I don't think it would be bad to be one of my chickens. Or Elizabeth I.
Where would you most like to live?
Where I live now--Brighton.
What is your most treasured possession?
A box of letters from my boyfriend that he wrote to me when I was a student in Texas and he was a fresh graduate in London.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I am very tall and often people don't realise this until I get close to them and they're surprised.
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
This should be easy but it's not. So, no, I can't answer it. I will say this: I read at least 10 books every month and often as many as 20. I am generous but particular.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Oooooh. Let's go with Charlie Bucket.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Varies day to day. Currently I am feeling like Charles II--recently restored.
Who are your heroes in real life?
In no particular order: Alice Walker, my Mum, Dolly Parton, Angela Lansbury, my husband.
What is it that you most dislike?
Prejudice dressed up as fact.
What is your greatest regret?
I've yet to have it.
What is your motto?