Literary Birthday – 30 March – Tobias Hill

Happy Birthday, Tobias Hill, born 30 March 1970.


  1. Judgements and secrets are what make a good novel.
  2. Imagination isn’t more important than knowledge to the writer; not even to the poet. Knowledge in good writing isn’t something you can always see, but then you can’t see foundations. Imagination rises out of knowledge, and poets are not and never have been innocent creators.
  3. People have expectations of what you are as a writer. And writers, on the whole, don’t like to be classified.
  4. My strong suits, coming from poetry, will naturally be description, which I love doing. It comes very easily, and possibly structure, up to a point.
  5. The problem with themes is that writers don’t realise they are themes until someone points them out.
  6. There is more consciousness now of the precision and muscularity a good poet can bring to the crafting of a novel. If that poet also has a talent for storytelling, and something to say, and characters who push themselves up and come storming off the pages…well, then that poet has the potential to be a really interesting novelist.
  7. If, at a party, I say I’m a poet, people have a hard time responding, almost as if I’d said I’m a priest.
  8. Writing is not only about imagination. It takes work, and work is about getting to know what you’re about.
  9. The poem and the short story have an affinity, in that you know it’s going to be over soon. With a novel, there is no hurrying it. You’re constantly walking into the unknown.
  10. I’m not a technophobe. I think it’s all rather incredible. But I think the business of the writer is to write.

Tobias Hill is an award-winning British poet, essayist, writer of short stories, and novelist. He is the author of The Love of Stones and What Was Promised.

Interviews: Tobias Hill

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 30th March 2017