12 April 2013

The Stella Interview: Michelle de Kretser

The Stella Prize chats with Michelle de Kretser, author of Questions of Travel

Stella: Who did you admire when you were fourteen?

Michelle: Sylvia Beach and David Bowie

Stella: How do you relax?

Michelle: I go for a walk, preferably with a dog.

Stella: Is there a writer you aspire to be like?

Michelle: I recently read that Wisława Szymborska distributed most of her Nobel Prize money anonymously among Polish writers. I admire her modesty, generosity and solidarity with other writers.

Stella: Do you have a good writing place? Tell us.

Michelle: I write in my study. Fifteen years after leaving an office, I’m still grateful for the pleasure of being able to work at home. My study has pink and green glass in the window, and is lined – predictably – with bookcases. The white plaster ceiling has Federation motifs: waratahs, lyrebirds. I like the mantelpiece in this room, on which I keep photographs, two green Depression glass vases, and a row of rather creepy little doll faces bought thirty years ago in a St Kilda junk shop. The room also contains a standard lamp with a pink satin shade; it looks like a little girl’s party frock and used to belong to my mother.

Stella: Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Michelle: Somewhere with good bookshops, warm weather and wild places where my dogs can chase swallows.

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