I've just come back from the Oxford Literary Festival the highlight of which was a session this morning with Tom Stoppard.
He brilliantly described the process of writing as going to bed at night thinking that your day's work was 'really okay' then waking the next morning, re-reading it, and discovering that 'the Polish au pair has re-written it in the night.
A couple of weeks ago, in article about 1968, he observed:
A small incident which must have confirmed some people’s worst suspicions about me occurred when I was asked to sign a protest against “censorship” after a newspaper declined to publish somebody’s manifesto. “But that isn’t censorship,” I said. “That’s editing. In Russia you go to prison for possessing a copy of Animal Farm. That’s censorship.”
I was introduced to him at a party at lunchtime. He congratulated me on being long-listed for the Orange Prize. I feel certain someone must have put him up to this, but still, it's as good as actually winning the prize (apart, of course from the cheque.)