Liverpool Literary Festival: Q&A with Dame Hermione Lee

Here we feature award-winning biographer, literary critic and academic, Dame Hermione Lee, who joins Liverpool Literary Festival online on Saturday 9 October, 11.30am-12.30pm, to talk about her new biography, Tom Stoppard: A Life.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

The involvement with my subject, the pursuit of ideas, the shaping of sentences.

What do you find challenging about it?

Organising my materials, keeping a sense of proportion and perspective, not jumping to conclusions.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My subject.

Have you always wanted to write for a living? If not, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I am a retired professor of literature and head of an Oxford college, and I’ve always combined writing with my university jobs. When I was young, I wanted to be an actor.

What are you currently reading?

Jenny Uglow’s brilliant forthcoming book about two early twentieth century artists, Sybil & Cyril, Cutting Through Time.

What’s your favourite book of all time?  

Impossible question. My favourite Stoppard play is The Invention of Love.

Tickets for Dame Hermione’s In Conversation with Mark Da Vanzo, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, are available FREE. Visit: