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Penelope Lively Quotes

All I know for certain is that reading is of the most intense importance to me; if I were not able to read, to revisit old favorites and experiment with names new to me, I would be starved - probably too starved to go on writing myself.

Conventional forms of narrative allow for different points of view, but for this book I wanted a structure whereby each of the main characters contributed a distinctive version of the story.

Deep down I have this atavistic feeling that really I should be in the country.

Equally, we require a collective past - hence the endless reinterpretations of history, frequently to suit the perceptions of the present.

Every novel generates its own climate, when you get going.

Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.

I can walk about London and see a society that seems an absolutely revolutionary change from the 1950s, that seems completely and utterly different, and then I can pick up on something where you suddenly see that it's not.

I didn't think I had anything particular to say, but I thought I might have something to say to children.

I didn't want it to be a book that made pronouncements.

I didn't write anything until I was well over 30.

I do like to embed a fictional character firmly in an occupation.

I have had to empty two family homes during the last few years - first, the house that had been my grandmother's since 1923, and then my own country home, which we had lived in for over twenty years.

I have long been interested in landscape history, and when younger and more robust I used to do much tramping of the English landscape in search of ancient field systems, drove roads, indications of prehistoric settlement.

I rather like getting away from fiction.

I'm intrigued by the way in which physical appearance can often direct a person's life; things happen differently for a beautiful woman than for a plain one.

I'm not an historian and I'm not wanting to write about how I perceive the social change over the century as a historian, but as somebody who's walked through it and whose life has been dictated by it too, as all our lives are.

I'm not an historian but I can get interested - obsessively interested - with any aspect of the past, whether it's palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.

I'm now an agnostic but I grew up on the King James version, which I'm eternally grateful for.

I'm writing another novel and I know what I'm going to do after, which may be something more like this again, maybe some strange mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

I've always been fascinated by the operation of memory - the way in which it is not linear but fragmented, and its ambivalence.