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Graham Swift's Quotes

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Born: 1949-05-04
Profession: Author
Nation: British
Biography of Graham Swift

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It can be dismaying, all the same, for a novelist to compare the slowness of the writing with the speed of the reading. Novels are read in a matter of days, even hours. A writer may labor for weeks over a particular passage that will have its effect on a reader for an instant - and that effect may be subliminal or barely noticed.

Tags: Matter, May, Writing

London is like no other city I know in its ability to become beautiful. You can suddenly turn a corner and there are odd moments - of light, of weather.

Tags: Beautiful, Become, Light

One of the things that probably drew me to writing was that it was something you could get on with by yourself. Publishing means going public. But the actual activity could scarcely be more invisible. And private.

Tags: Means, Writing, Yourself

Structure that really pays off is all based on emotion. I don't write down an elaborate plan. It's really done by feel. It's one area of my writing that I think I've got surer at as I've evolved.

Tags: Done, Off, Writing

The e-book does seem at the moment to threaten the livelihood of writers, because the way in which writers are paid for their work in the form of e-books is very much up in the air.

Tags: Moment, Seem, Work

The idea of stopping is not unmeaningful to me. I think there might be a time when, in theory at least, you'd say, 'Well I've mostly done what I want to do.' But how could you ever prevent a few years down the line some germ of an idea getting at you and you've got to do it again?

Tags: Again, Done, Time

The novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility, if only because novels may take years to write, so the 'now' with which they begin will be defunct by the time they're finished.

Tags: May, Sense, Time

The pen is very quick for getting stuff from your brain to the page. I can do hieroglyphics in the margin. There are days when I really enjoy the flow of ink. I mean, nice pen, ink straight on to the page.

Tags: Brain, Mean, Nice

There is a certain inescapable attachment. If you are born somewhere and circumstances don't take you away from it, then you grow up and remain within it.

Tags: Away, Born, Within

There's an undeniable thrill in seeing what's most current in our lives offered back to us in fictional guise, but it soon dates and it's never enough.

Tags: Enough, Lives, Soon

There's no such thing as the contemporary novel. Before I seem the complete reactionary, let me add that I've happily joined in many discussions about 'the contemporary novel' where what that usually, unproblematically means is novels that have appeared recently or may appear soon.

Tags: May, Means, Seem

Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I think in the e-book world there is a real danger they will take even less, unless they are vigilant and robust about protecting their own interests.

Tags: Less, Real, Small

When anything goes digital, let alone something as immaterial as a book, there is a tendency to see it as just in the air to be taken, and to lose the sense that somebody once made it.

Tags: Alone, Book, Sense

The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur.

Tags: Amazing, Art, Simple

I do my thinking while I walk. It just loosens up the mind in the way that you don't get when you are sitting at a desk.

Tags: Mind, Thinking, While

I don't reread my books.

Tags: Books

I respond to the sound of London being spoken - to the sound of London.

Tags: London, Respond, Sound

I think what I like to do is to begin with the ordinary and find the extraordinary in it.

Tags: Begin, Ordinary

If people read 'Tomorrow' and feel that it is offering them some view of my own household, they would be very, very wrong.

Tags: Read, Tomorrow, Wrong

My mother was a great bringer-up of children. My memories are of a sense of security and comfort.

Tags: Children, Great, Mother
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My upbringing was absolutely not the archetypal writer's upbringing. Even, arguably, the opposite.

Tags: Opposite, Upbringing, Writer

Novels, in my experience, are slow in coming, and once I've begun them I know I have years rather than months of work ahead of me.

Tags: Experience, Rather, Work

Of course there are times when I hate London, but equally there are times when I can walk 'round a corner and I really feel that this is my place.

Tags: Hate, Place, Times

Part of the very impulse of writing for me is actually wanting to get away from myself.

Tags: Actually, Away, Writing

People die when curiosity goes.

Tags: Curiosity, Die, Goes

Possibly he knew, as he wrote this, that he was mad - because inside every madman sits a little sane man saying 'You're mad, you're mad.'

Tags: Knew, Mad, Saying

Today's news, which may be yesterday's anyway, will be eclipsed tomorrow.

Tags: May, Today, Tomorrow

When I am writing, I'm very much on the ground, on the same ground my characters are treading.

Tags: Characters, Ground, Writing

All nature's creatures join to express nature's purpose. Somewhere in their mounting and mating, rutting and butting is the very secret of nature itself.

Tags: Nature, Purpose, Secret

All novelists must form their personal pacts in some way with the slowness of their craft. There are some who demand of themselves a 'rate of production,' for whom it's a matter of pride to complete, say, a book every year.

Tags: Book, Matter, Pride

As a novelist, I suppose I can say that I'm highly articulate. But I know, as a person, in other ways, I'm not always articulate. I think we are all, from time to time, inarticulate, at some level, about some things.

Tags: Level, Time, Ways

I came from a lower-middle-class postwar family in a time of austerity and retrenchment, with no one in the family who was in any way artistic or a potential mentor to a budding writer, and yet this is what I became.

Tags: Family, Time, Writer

I had a fear of becoming anything, a fear of becoming a specialist. I might have become a doctor, but if you become a doctor, that's your specialty in life and you are defined by it. One of the attractions of being a writer is that you're never a specialist. Your field is entirely open; your field is the entire human condition.

Tags: Fear, Human, Life

I share my name with an aerobatic bird that can whiz across a whole summer sky in seconds. A swift is so equipped for speed that it can scarcely cope with being stationary.

Tags: Bird, Sky, Whole

I tend to begin with what you might call the very small world of personal life. But I am certainly interested in how that small, intimate world connects or doesn't connect with a larger world.

Tags: Life, Personal, Small

I think the purveyors of e-books are only too happy for this atmosphere of 'everything belongs to everybody' to increase because it means they don't have to think so much about the original maker of the thing, or they can get away with paying them less.

Tags: Away, Happy, Means

I'm not a writer who looks for the fantastic and the sensational. I like the world we've got. If there is anything special and magical, I have to find it in the ordinary stuff.

Tags: Special, Stuff, Writer

In my work you often get an abrupt shift in time, a jolt. But the emotional logic will take the reader on. I hope. I trust. After all, our memories do not work with any sequential logic.

Tags: Time, Trust, Work
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