Award-winning novelist and art historian Anita Brookner was born in 1928. She published her first novel, A Start In Life in 1981, at the age of 53. Since then she has published a novel approximately every year. Her 1984 novel Hotel du Lac won the Booker prize.
In an interview for The Paris Review in 1987 when she was working at the Courtauld Institute she was asked where and when she wrote her books – Anywhere. In my flat, or in my office at the Courtauld. I have even written on a bus. When you live in a small flat you write on the edge of things—there is no great setup. I type what I have written at the office. I prefer working there because I like the interruptions—telephone calls, visitors. I am completely schizophrenic, as I can carry on a conversation in my head while another, apparently sensible conversation, is taking place with someone who has just come into the room. At home the isolation weighs on me. It is a terrible strain.
I only write in the summer holidays when the Institute is closed. Each novel has been written during a summer, over three or four months. Then I work every day all day and stop in the evening. I try to switch off completely and not think about it till the next day. I go for very long walks and wind down. I am grateful for the life in the streets—the people, the shop windows . . .
In an interview for the Daily Telegraph in 2009 we learn that she now works in a flat adjacent to her own. She is at her desk by 7am and always writes in long hand … ‘I like to feel the words flowing down my arm‘. She does not own a computer.
Finally, back to the title of this post. It comes from her Booker Prize winner Hotel du Luc and here it is …