Magazine article Times Higher Education

HE & Me: People

Magazine article Times Higher Education

HE & Me: People

Article excerpt

Marina Warner will be chair of judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2015. The professor in the department of literature, film and theatre studies at the University of Essex is known for books including Alone of All Her Sex, on the cult of the Virgin Mary, and Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights

Where and when were you born?

In Paddington, London, in November 1946; moved to Cairo in the spring of 1947.

How has this shaped you?

Strongly: my father was English, my mother Italian. Combined with my early years in Cairo, my background has made me both a native and a foreigner.

How significant was your convent school education?

Central. At the time, the low expectations and ladylike skills felt diminishing; but I now realise that the nuns were marvellously dedicated and colourful teachers, and I was remarkably well educated.

Describe your current job in no more than 140 characters

I teach literature, and argue for the central importance of imagination for individuals and society.

What's your favourite novel?

It keeps changing. Apuleius' The Golden Ass; The Arabian Nights; Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart; Boris Vian's L'ecume des jours (recently translated as Foam of the Daze); Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities.

How great a responsibility is chairing the Man Booker Prize judges?

We're all of us already readers who mind about good writing and work to bring it more into the light. But that leaves a lot of scope for differing and arguing!

Have you had a eureka moment? …

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