Brought to Book: Andrej Longo on his literary life

Reviews are essential. I enjoy looking at my book as if I were another person

Andrej Longo is the author of Ten (Harvill Secker, translated by Howard Curtis), a collection of short stories loosely based on the Ten Commandments and told at breakneck pace in the homes, backstreets and clubs of his native Naples. It has been longlisted for the Bagutta Prize, the Premio Nazionale di Narrativa Bergamo and the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

What was the first book to make an impression on you?

When I was 13 I stumbled upon Kafka's The Trial. I read it in one night.

And what is your favourite book or books now?


Il diario di Annalisa (Annalisa's diary), about a 13-year-old girl shot in the street by the Camorra (an Italian Mafia-type crime syndicate) by mistake.

What is your favourite quotation?

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more .It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

Who is your favourite fictional character?


Which do you prefer – ebooks or the traditional print version?

Traditional, definitely.

Where and how do you write?

In a peaceful place, listening to the music which fits the story I’m writing.

What book changed the way you think about fiction?

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver.

What book influenced you the most?

Sostiene Pereira by Antonio Tabucchi, the book which persuaded me to write my first book.

What book would you give to a friend’s child on their 18th birthday?

Kiffe kiffe demain by Faiza Guène.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Live and read.

What weight do you give reviews?

Essential. I enjoy looking at my book as if I were another person.

Where do you see the publishing industry going?

To some new place.

What writing trends have struck you lately?

The new American television series.

What lessons have you learned about life from reading?

Reading has made me ask new questions I would have never thought of.

What has being a writer taught you?

That you can earn some money for doing something you would normally do without being paid.

Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Charles Bukovski and Mary Shelley.

If you were to write a historical novel, which event or figure would be your subject?

Masaniello, the Neapolitan rebel of the 17th century.