Muriel Spark: An Interview About Interviews

[This interview was conducted, the fax says, 21 Sep 2000 at 10:05.] 

TL: In Curriculum Vitae you say, ‘It seemed to me that the Comforters of Job were not at all distinct characters; they were very much of one type. They were, in fact, like modern interrogators who come to interview and mock the victim in shifts.’ Do you enjoy doing interviews?

MS: Interviews can be stimulating. It depends on the intelligence of the interviewer.

TL At a rough guess, how many inteviews have you been subjected to in your life?

MS: About five a year.

TL: Of these interviews, were any particularly memorable? For what reason?

MS: Frank Kermode interviewed me in my early days. It is an oft-quoted classic interview.

TL: What is the question that you are most commonly asked, during interviews?

MS: Do I write by hand?

TL: Is there any questions that you wish you were asked more often, in interview?

MS: No.

TL: Answer the above question as if I had put it to you as part of this interview.

TL: No idea.


Muriel Spark Interview


TL: Have you yourself ever interviewed anyone particularly memorable? Who? Where? Why?

MS: Masefield (see my introduction to the revised edition).

TL: Given a choice, which person – living, dead, divine, mythical, semi-mythical, or fictional – would you choose to interview? Why? What would you ask them? Where would this interview take place?

MS: M. Heger, Charlotte Brontë’s master at Brussels. I would ask did he encourage her as a lover.

TL: Have you ever read or studied interviews with other writers? I’m thinking, in particular, of the Paris Review series.

MS: Yes. The Paris Review is good. I’ve had two PR interviews, neither of which has surfaced.

TL: Your latest novel, Aiding and Abetting, is centred around an interview of sorts – a psychoanalytic session. Do you believe in ‘the talking cure’?

MS: Never heard of it before. Psychiatrists are mostly fake, but they obtain results merely by being consulted.

TL: Do you ever feel that during an interview you have been prompted to come up with a new idea – an idea that has subsequently contributed to the writing of fiction?

MS: Yes, but I don’t recall any specific occasion.

TL: How do you usually feel, and what do you usually do, after you have finished an interview?

MS: Take a rest and think over what the conversation was about.

3 thoughts on “Muriel Spark: An Interview About Interviews

  1. Pingback: Muriel Spark: An Interview | tobylitt

  2. Pingback: In the Media: 25th January & 1st February 2015 | The Writes of Woman

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