Brought to book: Chris Skidmore MP

Written by Chris Skidmore MP on 3 January 2014 in Culture
The Tory MP for Kingswood lets us on his reading habits

Austerlitz by WG Sebald.

What’s your least favourite?

Courage by Gordon Brown. With its awful prose, impossible not to put down.

What’s your favourite political biography?

The Winter King by Thomas Penn.

Whom would you like to write a political biography about?

I’m currently writing a sort of political biography for my next book, The Lives of Richard III, but for the next one, I’d like to write a multi-volume biography of Henry VIII – in the style of Robert Caro.

What was your favourite children’s book?

I remember enjoying the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. Also Dick King Smith was born in the village where I grew up and used to visit local schools – we read a lot of his books and I remember meeting him – he was very much a ‘local hero’.

What’s the most inspiring book you have ever read?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – for its effect on my own love of literature – at the time, I hated English GCSE, until I read this book for the exam and then everything ‘clicked’. Also Borges’ Labyrinths.

What’s your favourite political novel?

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.

Name the most significant book of the last 10 years

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – for breathing new life into historical fiction.

What would you like to write a book about?

If I ever put aside writing history and took up fiction, I’d like to turn my hand to a Sharpe style series for the Wars of the Roses.

Which fictional character would you be?

Jack Whicher in the Suspicions of Mr Whicher may not be a fictional character, but Kate Summerscale manages to portray him as a Victorian Inspector Morse.

Chris Skidmore is Conservative MP for Kingswood

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