I've worked hard all my life. You have to if you want to get things done.
The World War I, I'm a child of World War I. And I really know about the children of war. Because both my parents were both badly damaged by the war. My father, physically, and both mentally and emotionally. So, I know exactly what it's like to be brought up in an atmosphere of a continual harping on the war.
I do have a sense, and I've never not had it, of how easily things can vanish.
When I was bringing up a child, I taught myself to write in very short, concentrated bursts. If I had a weekend, or a week, I'd do unbelievable amounts of work.
Sentimentality is intolerable because it is false feeling.
I remember World War II when there were very few books, very little paper available. For me to walk into a shop or look at a list and see anything that I want, or almost anything, is like a kind of miracle.
It is very enjoyable, writing a story. You get this idea. It takes hold of you. And then you spend day and night thinking about how to do it. And then you do it. And much later, you think, 'Oh, yes. That's an interesting question.'
I am your original autodidact.
It's very interesting what you don't care about.
God knows why nobody ever learns from the preceding generation - but they don't.
The human race has been telling stories since it began.
Everything all the time in a city is extraordinary!
I am always being described as having views that I've never had in my life.
The thing is, I haven't changed at all.
We like to think we can solve everything, but we can't always.
I think a lot of romanticizing has gone on with the women's movement.
You cannot escape the fact that women mould your first five years, whether you like it or not. And I can't say I do like it very much.
I haven't got the energy to write now.
I was a nursemaid. And it was pretty boring.
I have ideas that I will probably never write now.
I see every book as a problem that you have to solve. That is what dictates the form you use. It's not that you say, 'I want to write a science fiction book.' You start from the other end, and what you have to say dictates the form of it.
I don't write well when I'm sitting there sweating about every single phrase.
I got married and I had children because of the Second World War, as all of us did, exclaiming, 'Oh, no, we are never going to bring a child into this wicked world,' but we had children by the dozen and got married.
I was writing all my childhood. And I wrote two novels when I was 17, which were terrible. And I'm not sorry I threw them out. So, I wrote. I had to write. You know, the thing was, I had no education.
I thought that would go without saying, that if a mother gives up her children, it's very painful.
You know, looking at it objectively, I've written one or two good books.
If you are a young writer today, it's very hard.
What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.
For with my intuition I knew that this man was repeating a pattern over and over again: courting a woman with his intelligence and sympathy, claiming her emotionally; then, when she began to claim in return, running away. And the better a woman was, the sooner he would begin to run. I knew this with my intuition, and yet I sat there in my dark room, looking at the hazed wet brilliance of the purple London night sky, longing with my whole being.
That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.
Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who'd be kind to me. That's what people really want, if they're telling the truth.
Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.
Hitler admired Stalin, quite properly seeing himself as a mere infant in crime compared to his great exemplar.
Parents should leave books lying around marked "forbidden' if they want their children to read.
Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.
I think a writer's job is to provoke questions. I like to think that if someone's read a book of mine, they've had-I don't know what-the literary equivalent of a shower. Something that would start them thinking in a slightly different way perhaps. That's what I think writers are for. This is what our function is.
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.
There is nothing more boring for an intelligent woman than to spend endless amounts of time with small children.