6th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

In this section, we give readers the chance to get to know the authors attending the 6th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Prue Leith

What are you looking forward to when you visit Dubai and the LitFest?

The amazing buildings, the great hotels, wonderful food and the desert!

What got you interested in writing?

I have always written. Doggerel verse as a child, emotional and tragic plays at Cape Town University, romantic poems when in love. First commission was a column in the Johannesburg Tatler in 1961 when I was a student in Paris. Called Prue in Paris it reads now as embarrassingly gushy and breathless. Then recipes for a London wine merchant’s newsletter, then cookbooks once I started as a caterer, then newspaper columns, travel pieces, opinion pieces, more cookbooks and finally when I sold my catering business, then novels and an autobiography.

Can you tell us about your experience getting published? How did it feel to hold your first book in your hand?

First cookbook published when a customer of my Michelin star restaurant turned out to be a publisher who liked my food and liked my writing.

First novel when my agent, who had done well with my cookbooks and did not really want me to change to fiction, had no option but to hawk my first novel around. She sold it to Penguin.

Who are your favourite authors?

Anthony Trollope is my favourite author. He wrote 47 books I think and I have read them all at least twice. Also like the classics like Austin, Tolstoy, Emily Bronte etc. Modern writers: Alice Munro, Sadie Smith, Joanna Trollope, Sebastian Faulks, and most of all Hilary Mantell

What would you have been if you weren’t an author?

Well, I have also been restaurateur, cook, caterer, journalist, businesswoman, TV presenter and have set up and chaired education companies, schools, charities, businesses. A great life and a lot of fun. But if I had done none of these, I’d have liked to be an architect.

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