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'I became a reader overnight'

5 January 2015

'I became a reader overnight. I remember exactly what happened. I was 14 and went to John Menzies newsagent. Every book that had a vaguely smutty blurb I bought... The only exception to the highbrow erotica was Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country. I thought, "This is as boring as shit..." After 40 pages, something started to change. By the end of the day I had read it straight through. I was shaking with emotion. I didn't realise books could do that to you, could make you feel like that.

I was a huge reader, but how to become a writer? Very quickly I developed this idea that I had to reflect my culture. I had to find a way to make literature out of the culture I know.'

Alan Warner, author of The Sopranos and Their Lips Talk of Mischief in the Independent on Sunday