An Interview with Joe Dunthorne
Did you enjoy going behind the scenes at the museum?
I loved it!
What did you find most inspiring?
I enjoyed snooping around among the roller shelves in the archive. A shelf of ornate spice towers, like looking at the rooftops of Florence. Stacks of old irons, diaries, football programmes. A mannequin. Amy Winehouse’s Grammy. It was an endless source of fascination.
How did you feel about writing on camera?
Unhappy! The trick, when writing, is to forget that you exist which is difficult when you can see your own face projected on a screen.
How different was it from a normal writing day for you?
Very. I normally start a lot earlier and am more likely to be wearing pajamas. Unlike the museum, I do not allow strangers into my home to tell me stories which – I realise – is a real shame. From now on, I shall have an open-door policy at home. It was also great to be surrounded by inspiring material. At home, I am surrounded only by evidence of my own slovenliness.
What would you change if you could try it again?
I would get training, beforehand, as though preparing for a marathon. Writing at speed is something you have to practice and I felt a little unfit.