The Writers Write Interview With Robert Calderisi

The Writers Write Interview – Robert Calderisi


In this post, we share our interview with Robert Calderisi. The author was our guest at an event in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Robert Calderisi is ‘a 1968 Rhodes Scholar who he first visited Africa in November 1975. He has had a thirty-year career in international development, principally at the World Bank, where he held several senior positions. He is the author of The Trouble with Africa. From 1997 to 2000, he was the Bank’s international spokesperson on Africa. He has lived in France, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the US. He is now a consultant and writer, splitting his time between Montreal and Paris.’

The Writers Write Interview With Robert Calderisi

The Author: Robert Calderisi
Date: 8 February 2008
Place: The Peech Hotel
Date of birth: 29 November 1948
The Book: The Trouble with Africa

1.   Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

Nostromo from Joseph Conrad’s book of the same name.

2.   What is your most treasured possession?

My books.

3.   Which living person do you most dislike?

Dick Cheney

4.   What is your greatest fear?

Losing my sight, or my hearing.

5.   Who or what has been the greatest love of your life?

Jean Daniel, the man I’ve been living with for 30 years. We were married 5 years ago.

6.   What is your greatest regret?

Not to have been a teacher of history. I became an economist instead.

Larry Darrell, the hero of The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. I like the contemplation and the depth of his reflection. And his desire to serve others.

8.   Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. For the pathos and pure elegance of the writing.

9.   What is your favourite journey?

The 190 miles I walked in May 2003 from the North Sea to the Irish Sea in 10 days.

10.  What do you prefer, Dogs or Cats? 

Dogs. Especially a Jack Russell named Vicki.

11.  What quality do you most admire in a woman?

A sense of humour.

12.  Which book that  you’ve written is your favourite?

The Trouble with Africa

13.  What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write about something you know well and are passionate about.

14.  What are your favourite names?

  1. Sebastian
  2. Jean Daniel
  3. Anne

15.  What do you do as a hobby?

Reading, walking, cycling.

16.  What are your top three books? 

  • Candide by Voltaire
  • History of the English Speaking People by Winston Churchill
  • The Razor’s Edge by W Somerset Maugham

17.  Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Newspapers, conversations, travelling.

Interviewer: Amanda Patterson, The Peech Hotel, 8th February 2008.

If you want to read more of our interviews, click here