John Clanchy has written seven volumes of fiction (novels, novellas and short stories). His work has won awards in Europe, the US, New Zealand, and Australia. His novel The Hard Word (2002) was awarded the ACT Book of the Year and Vincenzo's Garden (2005), a collection of prize-winning short stories, have been published to wide critical acclaim. John's forthcoming collection of short stories was mainly written at La Muse. Born in Melbourne John has lived in Canberra since 1975.
What is, for you, the height of misery?
Visits from the Black Dog.
Where would you like to live?
Australia and France.
Your ideal of earthly happiness?
i. equality for all as a universal aspiration
ii. (personally) a dinner table, surrounded by family, with fine food, wine, laughter, story-telling and conversation.
For which fault do you have the greatest amount of indulgence?
Who are the novelistic heroes whom you prefer?
Those involved in making complex moral decisions where the available options all look bad.
Who is your favorite historical character?
Alexander the Great, Buddha.
Your favorite heroines in real life?
Aung San Su Kyi, Brigid Ballard.
Your favorite painter?
Your favorite musician?
Bob Dylan, Roy Bailey, Pavarotti.
The virtue you most prefer in men?
The virtue you most prefer in women?
Empathy, humour, womanliness.
The virtue you prefer?
Your preferred occupation?
Whom would you have liked to be?
Anton Chekhov, without the TB.
The principal trait of my character?
The persistent desire to be a better person in the face of manifestly inadequate resources to achieve it.
What I appreciate the most in my friends?
"Tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having" (Marcel Proust)
My principle fault?
Pedantry (for example knowing the difference between 'principle faults' and 'principal' ones. Excessive criticality.
What is your favorite occupation?
What might my greatest misfortune be?
To lose a child.
The color I prefer?
Blues, royal and cobalt.
The flower I like?
The bird I prefer?
My favorite prose authors?
Chekhov, Tolstoy, Patrick White, Marquez.
My preferred poets?
Shakespeare, Marvell, Keats, Tennyson.
My favorite hero of fiction?
My favorite heroines of fiction?
Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary.
My favorite composers?
Bach, Beethoven, Verdi.
My favorite painters?
Van Gogh, Vermeer, Sisley, Hopper.
My heroes in real life?
My favorite historical heroines?
Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth 1.
My favorite names?
Brigid, Anna, David, Ben, Edward, Tessa, Sebastian.
What is it you most dislike?
The 3Ps: pomposity, pretentiousness, and preening self-regard.
Historical figures whom I scorn the most?
The occupants of the Vatican, George Bush.
The military feat that I admire the most?
Gallipoli, the Western Front, the Pacific war - all the great disasters.
The reform that I admire the most?
Emancipation (from slavery, childhood labour).
The gift of nature I would like to possess?
A good singing voice.
How I would like to die?
Reconciled and in my sleep.
The present state of my mind?
Gradual acceptance (of age, limits of possibility).
What is your slogan?
Le temps se passe, la peine s'oublie, l'oeuvre reste.