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Penelope Lively
Thank you to Penelope Lively for doing this Q & A at such short notice.

If you would like to read a fuller interview with Penelope Lively, go to the Interview Online
What gave you the idea for the story of FAMILY ALBUM?
No single thing. Thoughts about the dynamic of families, the ways in which each of us remembers family life differently.
The novel is, as the title suggests, a series of snapshots of a family, taken by various members at different times. Memory and the past seem to be key subjects in your books. What is it that intrigues you about this theme?
A subject of endless interest - I've tried to explore it in various ways in novels like THE PHOTOGRAPH and MOON TIGER.
‘Silent speech hangs in the air’ at Allersmeade: so much remains unsaid. Do you feel that the contract of silence that often exists within a family or a relationship is necessarily destructive?
Definitely not. If everything thought was said the results would be disastrous.
We love the fact of Charles, the distant father, writing a book about ‘concepts of youth, of the young.’ Is there a bit of a dig at the vicarious life of the novelist there?
That's a nice idea, but I'm not sure it was in my head when writing of Charles.
You began writing comparatively late. What made you want to start writing at that point in your life?
For me, I think reading turned into writing. Not all obsessive readers feel the need to write, but some do, and I was one. And I had no idea how difficult it was.
What would you recommend as a really good read for a book group?
THE STORY OF LUCY GAULT by William Trevor or CROW LAKE by Mary Lawson.
Who or what are your inspirations, literary or otherwise?
Too many to list. Almost everything I've read.
Can we ask what you are working on now?
A novel.
Penelope Lively

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