Susanna Clarke

Literary Birthday – 1 November – Susanna Clarke

Happy Birthday, Susanna Clarke, born 1 November 1959.

Seven Quotes

  1. A piece of writing is like a piece of magic. You create something out of nothing.
  2. I always really liked magicians. I’m not even sure why—except that they know things other people don’t and they live in untidy rooms full of strange objects.
  3. I’ve been writing since my late teens (rather a long time ago). Behind me you’ll find the scattered debris of several abandoned novels. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell took 10 years to write. I used to write it in the mornings before I went to work. I also wrote at weekends — luckily my partner, Colin, is also a writer and so he understood why we never went anywhere for 10 years.
  4. To sit and pass hour after hour in idle chatter with a roomful of strangers is to me the worst sort of torment.
  5. It seems to me that what writers are supposed to do is use their imaginations. Imagination is one of the most important things we have.
  6. C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia were the most important books of my childhood and showed me the sheer delight of escaping into other, more interesting worlds through reading. I still love Lewis’s narrative voice — so authoritative, but matter-of-fact and so gently ironic.
  7. I can write most places — either in a notebook or on my iBook. I don’t particularly need silence. This has been and continues to be a great boon. I am especially fond of writing on trains. The continual flow of scenery and unrelated images is very beneficial to writing.

Susanna Clarke is a British author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a Hugo Award-winning alternate history. She has also published a collection of her short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories. In 2021, she won the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her second novel Piranesi.

Source for Image

Patrick Nielsen Hayden from Brooklyn, New York, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 1st November 2013