Joanita Wibowo


5 minutes with author Sophie Green

5 minutes with author Sophie Green

In 5 minutes with authorOver60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Sophie Green, a Sydney-based author and publisher. Her debut novel, The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards for General Fiction Book of the Year 2018. Her latest book, The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle, is out now.

Over60 talked with Green about her (lack of) writing routine, the one book that makes her cry, and why she wants to have dinner with Simone de Beauvoir.

Over60: What is your best writing tip?

Sophie Green: Read a lot before you start writing, while you are writing, and any other time you have. Reading is the best possible education for a writer.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

H.R.H. The Princess Margaret by Nigel Dempster, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake.

What was the last book that made you cry?

Music makes me cry more often than books, so I could easily tell you the last five songs that made me cry, but the only book that comes to mind is Guarding the Moon by Francesca Lia Block, which I read a long time ago.

What does your writing routine look like?

When I’m writing a first draft I write on public transport, on the way to and from work. When I’m rewriting, I need longer blocks of time to be able to make headway, but that means there is no routine – it could be at 4.30am or late at night, depending on when I can find the time.

Paperback, e-book or audiobook?

All of them, depending on the book. I have a lot of print books in my reading pile and a lot of e-books queued up to be read, but I also love audiobooks because for some stories it’s easier to be swept away on audio.

What do you think is the most challenging work you’ve ever read?

The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie – not because I didn’t love it, but because it took a little while to find the rhythm of it. Once I did, it was a wonderful ride.

What do you do when you’re not writing or reading?

Apart from work and housework and all the usual things, I play piano and guitar, I practise and teach yoga, play tennis as often as I can, swim in the sea when the temperature allows and go for walks.

If you could invite three authors – living or deceased – to a dinner party, who would you choose and why?

I’ll start with James Baldwin, because he would be brilliant and arch and passionate; Simone de Beauvoir, because as much as we know of her life I suspect there was so much she didn’t say, and perhaps she could divulge that over dinner; and Herodotus, because I’d like to quiz him about his source material and find out how much of the truth he liked to bend.