john lawton

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John Lawton

John Lawton was a producer/director in television for many years, mostly interpreting the US to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He's the author of the Inspector Troy series of thrillers.

He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the House of Lords as an offender against taste and balance—he has also been denounced from the pulpit in Mississippi as a communist, but thinks that less remarkable.

John spent most of the 1990s in New York—among other things attending the writers’ sessions at The Actors’ Studio under Norman Mailer. Since 2000 he has lived in the high, wet hills of Derbyshire, with frequent excursions into the high, dry hills of Arizona and Italy, as he finds he cannot write about England while he's in it. 

He’s not sure he has any hobbies, but grows 12 different varieties of potato every year.  He is smartphone allergic and social media resistant. He has spent much of his life in search of the perfect hi-fi. He is devoted to the work of Franz Schubert, Cormac McCarthy, Art Tatum, and Barbara Gowdy.


Interviewed 27 October 2018

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Wilful, erratic, subversive, secretive, obsessive, (mostly) enjoyable, (mostly) solitary, provocative.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

Monte Amiata, a white cat, a fig tree not even in blossom, the church on the other side of the valley, the rock I rest on when out hiking, the white trail up the hill opposite, Ugo in his cloth cap, someone’s bonfire, Isidore's farm but no sign of his donkey.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Linguine, with raw vegetables, olive oil, lightly toasted garlic, Parmesan.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Molly Ivins, Peter Cook, Mendelyev, Moseley.

Six things you can't live without ...

Schubert, Schubert, Schubert, Schubert, Schubert, Schubert.

Five favourite words ...

Shed, dog, tram, Weltanschaung, Nantucket.

Four places you'd run away to ...

Arizona, Southern Tuscany, Yasnaya Polyana, Ben Bulben.

Three books you've bought recently ...

East-West by Phillipe Sands Letty Dobesh by Blake Crouch Little Elvises by Timothy Hallinan

Two things that make you rant ...

Tories, smartphones.

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Leave home now!