Lynne Truss - Author Picture

Lynne Truss - Author

Lynne Truss is one of Britain’s top comic writers and is the author of the number one bestseller Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It has sold over three million copies worldwide and won the British Book of the Year award in 2004. Below is a Q & A with this author.

Do you have a favourite punctuation mark?

I do! When I was writing Eats, Shoots & Leaves, I remember saying that this was going to be a new experience for me, because usually (when I was writing plays or novels) I would fall in love with one of the characters. “No chance of that this time,” I said. But in fact I fell in love with the colon. I realised how manly it was. However, I think you have to be a very strange or special person to understand what I mean by that.

What is the most embarrassing mistake you have ever made?

It’s not very good, I’m afraid. I was about 22, and at a party, talking to some parents about whether they should get some injections for their kids, and I said it was probably very important to have them intoxicated. I meant innoculated, you see. I felt like killing myself afterwards.

What is the worst mistake you have ever seen?

I don’t recall. I try to remember only the funny ones. The funniest one I know about

Aside from errors in punctuation and bad manners, do you have any other pet hates?

I don’t actually hate punctuation errors: they make me sad. Meanwhile, the rudeness of the modern world (which was the subject of my last book, Talk to the Hand – it wasn’t just about manners) also makes me more suicidal than angry. However, since you ask, what I do really hate is cyclists on pavements. Or cyclists sailing across pdestrian crossings when the lights are against them. Or cyclists going the wrong way down a one-way street. I would like new laws passed so that citizens would be within their rights to push cyclists off their bikes, if discovered committing any of those outrages.

What is the furthest you have ever gone to correct someone’s punctuation?

Sorry, I don’t go out of my way at all to correct punctuation. Occasionally, if I’m feeling very larky, I will correct a sign and then add my signature underneath – sort-of like the mark of Zorro. But I actually don’t go around correcting people in a serious way, because I know it hurts their feelings.

What are you reading at the moment?

Because I’m just starting to write my first stage play, I’ve been reading a lot of plays; also books about playwriting. Alan Ayckbourn’s The Crafty Art of Playwriting is full of good advice. I’ve just read Lionel Shriver’s Double Fault (a novel about tennis players), and a new American biography of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Last night, I started Julia Briggs’s book about Virginia Woolf, which looks great. Julia Briggs gave a talk about the book at the Charleston Literary Festival in May that was quite the most impressive talk I’ve ever been to.

What was your favourite childhood book?

I loved Pooh best, I think. But Lewis Carroll has had the most lasting effect on my imagination, and I often invoke the Alice books, assuming that everyone knows them off by heart, as I do. When I was about ten, I learned all the poems – “Jabberwocky”, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, “You Are Old, Father William” – and recited them to my bored classmates. I do see Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as one of the most important books ever written.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Lynne Truss

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why Commas make a difference
Lynne Truss
Grammar goddess Lynne Truss has a thing about punctuation, quite rightly in my view. This is her effort, and by the way it’s utterly brilliant, to make punctuation fun for young children so that from an early age they understand...
Lovereading Price: £7.19 - Saving £1.80 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 14/09/2006
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