Saturday, January 17, 2009

Birthplace of 'Devil May Care'

"I have worked in this room for six years. I wrote novels called Human Traces, Engleby and Devil May Care here, and have nearly finished a new one, provisionally called A Week in December. The room is part of a small flat in Holland Park, in west London. It's at the top of a building so there's no noise from above. I come here from home, 15 minutes' walk away, from roughly 10 till six every weekday. I sometimes stay later or come in at the weekend as well, so I guess I must like it here.

It faces east and overlooks a garden square with a pink horse chestnut. The room is not as seedy as the picture makes it look, though I admit that the decor - if that's not too strong a word - is the subject of some hilarity to female interviewers. I don't care what it looks like, only how it works.

The desk belonged to a furniture dealer called Simon Horn. It's too low to get my knees under, so the middle drawer has gone and the legs are propped up by copies of Charlotte Gray in Danish. The chair I got via the Wellcome Trust; it's the same as those in their library and very good for someone with a chronically painful back. I inherited the curtains from the previous owner.

On the coffee table are books and notebooks relating to the novel in hand. The buff envelope at the front of the upper in-tray on the desk is the next VAT return. The temperamental phone/fax machine doubles, when it fancies it, as a photocopier.

On the wall I face are a small cameo of Tolstoy that I bought in his house in Moscow and a bronze relief of Dickens, half obscured by the computer screen, that was my mother's. For each book I invoke a sort of patron saint. For A Week in December it's Orwell, just visible at two o'clock from Tolstoy. The message of the old wartime poster next to him gives solid advice on a slow day. The bag was a Christmas present from my wife."

Sebastian Faulks - The Guardian


  1. Thanks for posting this. I always find it inspiring to see the work spaces of other artists/writers. Great catching up with your posts.

    I've linked to your blog (ok?) on my website and blog, Spy Vibe.

    Best, -Jason (

  2. "A Week In December". Sounds a lot like Higgy's working title for Double or Die!


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