INTERVIEW by Ben Skelton

NWR Issue 114

The Cycling Biographer

In the early 1990s, Graham Robb retreated to the hills near Llangollen to write his first book, a life of Balzac. It was, he says, an isolated spot, a steep bike ride from shops and human distraction. In his latest book, Cols and Passes of the British Isles, he writes: ‘A friend had given me the keys to an almost derelict house on the side of the Eglwyseg Mountain where I intended to devote the long, quiet hours to writing. Half-way up the Horseshoe Pass, a small road between high hedges led to a ferociously steep track which resembled the bed of a dried-up torrent in a slate quarry.... The regular shopping trip down and back up the mountain required exactly the amount of energy supplied by the food transported in the panniers: in effect, the food consumed itself.’

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Ben Skelton is a freelance journalist based in Whitstable.


previous interview: Stallion Ford, a Collaboration of Imagery and Poetry in Comic-Book Form
next interview: Interview with Joanne Limburg


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