The actor, comedian, novelist and presenter talks about Muriel Spark, Fay Weldon and biscuits
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Cheltenham and look out over a pedestrian street. I can see nandos.
The new book by Joanne Harris A narrow door. It’s a thriller, very compelling. It’s also quite vengeful, which I tend to like.
I’m torn between Muriel Spark and Fay Weldon, but I say Fay Weldon. She’s bold and funny and precise – not unlike Spark in some ways. Your novels are fairly easy, but they have a sense of fate, a sense of higher purpose. I don’t know why, but I often pick a book from a woman rather than a man.
I have an office, but I don’t want to sit in it often – it feels too intense. I prefer to sit at the kitchen table and watch the goings-on in the busy street where I live. I can make tea whenever I want and I can have a cookie after every sentence I write. Usually my dog Albert joins me and sleeps next to me in his basket. He snores and sighs a little, which is comforting.
Miss Jean Brodie because she is unconventional and has the determination to enjoy life to the fullest. Or Emmeline Lucia from the books Mapp and Lucia by EF Benson. This may be wishful thinking, but she is elegant, resourceful, and ambitious, and often things go wrong for her in social situations.
My mother. She is stoic and can always find joy in any situation. She also laughs a lot, which I think is very healthy.
Licking Love: How Dogs Changed My Life by Julian Clary is published by Quercus for £ 20. He will be at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday