Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Author Visit: Matt Haig

Good morning, lovely blog folk! I hope you've all had a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend. Last week I ran away to the Spanish mountains for a quick break from running the bookshop, writing and doing author events. It was very peaceful, and my batteries are now fully recharged. There were lots of poppies there, too; they were very pretty:

Now, to make us all feel better about the terrible weather, here is an interview with the lovely Matt Haig. His novel 'The Humans' was published a couple of weeks ago by Canongate. Here's what Jeanette Winterson had to say about it: 'Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin.' She speaks the truth. It's a fantastic book. I devoured it on a couple of train journeys.

Here's the blurb:

One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world's greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears.

When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he's a dog.

It's a wonderful book. Everyone who replies to this blog post by Sunday 2nd June will have their name put into a hat. The name pulled out of that hat will win a copy of The Humans. The giveaway is open worldwide.

So... pull up a seat!


Hi Matt! Welcome. 

You say that The Humans is the book you're most proud of writing. Why?

It felt different, writing this book. It sort of came with its own energy. It feels the most me, out of everything I've written. I just went where I wanted to go and didn't care if that included frowned upon things - romantic comedy, sentimentality, science-fiction and even a bit of self-help.

How long did it take you to write?

Thirteen years, in that I first had the idea thirteen years ago. But it took me a long, long time to gain the confidence I needed. The actual writing of it took only a few months. It was very fast. 

You must have looked at the human race from some very strange angles when writing this book. What do you think humans do too much of? What don't we do enough of? Did you make some self discoveries along the way?

I think we do too much worrying over the small things. I think we need to be a bit more philosophical. We're also very good at seeing the differences between each other, and our fears lead us to a whirlpool of regrets. 

(Jen: Everyone should take a look at this, by the way

How do you think your writing has evolved over the years?

I have got slightly more optimistic. Some would say more sentimental. I think I have got braver. I used to be a bit more self-consciously 'literary'. I now try and forget all that stuff and just tell a story. I'm not scared of telling jokes either, these days.

What are the most important things about the publishing world that you didn't know when you started out, but found out along the way? 

There is a London bias. No-one will admit this, but it is inevitable. If you live in London and are out-and-about at the right parties, and know the right people, favours inevitably happen. That's not cynicism, it's just the way it is. 

What parts of your writing career, so far, have you enjoyed the most?

The writing, when it is going well, is the best thing about this job. When it is going badly, or not at all, then it is the worst. Other than that meeting readers who have, in whatever way, been affected by what I've written. 

What are your plans for the future?

I have been asked to write the screenplay for The Humans, so that is my immediate plan. I have also written a book for teenagers called The Echo Boy, that should be out next year. Oh, and a HOLIDAY. 

I think that a holiday sounds like a splendid idea! Best of luck with The Humans, Matt!

Everyone who replies to this blog post by Sunday 2nd June will have their name put into a hat. The name pulled out of that hat will win a copy of The Humans. The Giveaway is open worldwide.


  1. Really looking forward to getting into this mans character, finding his history, finding the little things about his personality.

  2. Well, if I don't win The Humans here, I'll get out and buy a copy next week! :P
    It sounds intriguing. Love the video BTW!
    Take Care,

  3. Ah, the hills are alive with the sound of pages turning! Sounds like just the book for the number generator to pick for me. Sounds more than a bit brilliant Matt.
    And the line of each chapter is great. But as great as that is, I hope others overlook the use. It could become too common place. This should, could be a Matt thing.

  4. Fantastic interview. I've been following Matt's blog on the Writers & Artists page, I'd recommend giving it a look!

    The Humans sounds up my street, I'll put it at the top of my 'To buy' list!

    1. I meant to say 'Matt's Blog on Booktrust', not W&A (I had their site open when I wrote that comment. Oops!)

  5. Have to read this book! Would love to win it! Enjoyed your interview also and appreciate the opportunity you offer! Thanks!

  6. Wow - sounds an amazing read. Fingers crossed I win a copy. Will it be signed?

    1. Afraid it won't be signed, as I'll be the one posting it to the winner.

  7. I really enjoyed THE HUMANS, I ran the whole gamut of emotions. The only thing that spoilt it for me was the fact I didn't have any Peanut Butter to eat! ( Please feel sorry for me? ). If you are reading this DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE...
    I would love MANY years from now to be able to go back and reread this novel as my final book before I
    fade away, as it has caused me to remember so many
    things about how I have evolved into the person that I am. Good and Bad.

    Now I would like to request that Jen and Matt both get back to writing as we need more of both their work to cocoon us on the " grey days ".

    In closing - should I be fortunate enough to have my name drawn, could I ask that you redraw another name as I have a copy and would prefer someone be able to sample Matts work?

    1. That's very lovely of you DJ - yes, that can certainly be arranged. Glad that you loved the book, too! x

  8. I read The Humans on my Kindle recently and have to say the reviews are well deserved. It's a wonderful book - warm, funny, sad, thought-provoking... It made me consider both my own life and humankind as a whole and how wonderfully weird and special we can be. There are some books you read knowing you'll come back to and read again. The Humans is one of those books. I have been recommending it to my friends at every opportunity.

    Definitely have peanut butter in the house though! Luckily I did although need to re stock now.

  9. The Humans by Matt Haig sounds different, to say the least. My library has only his book Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest, so I'd like to win this one. Thanks. Oh, yeah, I also have peanut butter in the house.

  10. Sounds like a great book - I may have to go buy it in the likely event my name isn't drawn! :)

  11. I heard Matt speak about this book at Aye Write! in Glasgow last month and have wanted to read it ever since. I even have peanut butter.....

  12. I live the video for this. It was the first thig to grab my attention about the book. It's something different!
    Now I can't wait to read it!

  13. Thanks all! The name pulled out of the hat was Michael Nethery :). For those who didn't win, please do track down a copy of 'The Humans' - it's an excellent read! x