When you embarked on your PhD did you anticipate an academic career afterwards?
Yeah. I mean you know I wanted to do that. I thought it was the kind of life that I would like to have and so I partly made a choice on that, on that basis.
What other things did you do during your PhD aside from tutoring that was in a conscious or unconscious way working towards that aim having an academic career?
Well being older you begin to realise that things either happen to you or you can make them happen and I made them happen. And you know I was very positive about that. It was quite easy for me to make them happen. When I wrote my PhD I also wrote 15 films and my first book contract was for 29 books. So and I knew how the worm was beginning to turn. I knew that East Anglia were doing Creative Writing and it was beginning to open up and I knew that I'd be able to knock on an institutional door and say this is what I do, I've got a PhD but I've also written lots of books and stuff.
You were doing an English Lit PhD. At what point had you started to do film making and creative writing?
Just after that. Partly the reason I did the English Lit PhD was that I always wanted to write as well and I realised quite early on that I could write and I was quite good at it but I didn't think I was bright enough. I didn't think I was bright enough to write the kind of books that I liked to read. I didn't quite understand, so partly doing an English Degree was - maybe I wouldn't write after I'd finished it but I just wanted to be a wee bit smarter really. I mean working in the City I did very well in the City, but I kind of knew my limitations and everybody I worked beside in the City had degrees and stuff and I just kind of I just thought, I didn't feel inferior in any kind of way, I just felt as though I wanted to know more about things that I didn't know about. And so that was kind of part of that.
Do you think that you've ended up where you aimed at, did you aim at this?
Doing the PhD was nice, having left school with few O levels, and then getting the PhD was sort of well that's great you know, I've accomplished something a part of my life that I wanted to accomplish. So that was important. And then when I got here I just thought well that's great I've arrived, I'm doing what I want to do and then just by natural progression of things, that things consistently change. So now I kind of saw myself at 50 being an academic, I think. By the time I managed to get here I thought 'yeah, I like this'. And I liked doing it so I stayed with it. But I still kept looking for opportunities as well, you can't stop doing that. Some people stop but I don't stop.