My father was an ornithologist and was only interested in nature, so we spent our holidays camping or hiking in different parts of Europe. I didn’t mind watching birds but after two or three hours I found it a bit repetitive and boring; I lost interest. Why, since I had to spend so much time outdoors, I relied heavily on books to occupy myself. Books have always kept me interested, they never bore me. My father had a lot of books about birds, which was nice. Eventually I dropped the books about birds and turned to fiction.

When I read fiction, I am able to enter a world that is not mine; a world where I am confronted with other peoples’ lives and I then forget about reality. I love it because it is about others’ and it allows me to escape.

I don’t want to read about my own life. It’s not that interesting!

(Anne heads the federation for European publishers based in Brussels, Belgium.)