I've never thought of myself in terms of an identity. I'm always baffled when I encounter someone who gives the impression about being confident about a particular defined identity.

A revolution is not a painless march to the gates of freedom and justice. It is a struggle between rage and hope, between the temptation to destroy and the desire to build.

Some of the most powerful memories are those when you are very, very young. Adult life is seen through the reflection of complex, rational thought.

There are two voices: the first says write; the second hardly speaks, but I know what he wants. And if I let him, nothing would get done. He hovers at the edges.

Libyans are deeply unsettled by Gaddafi and his regime's careless contempt for human life. The dictatorship is willing to employ any methods necessary to remain in power.

The romantic idea of the penniless writer is false. It's terrible. I hated being in debt. I hated the anxiety of not knowing whether we could pay our rent that month. Thankfully, I had a wife who was very supportive and had faith and shared my madness.

My earliest memory of books is not of reading but of being read to. I spent hours listening, watching the face of the person reading aloud to me.

My father, the political dissident Jaballa Matar, disappeared from his home in Cairo in March 1990.

One of the dark truths about dictators - and it applies to Gaddafi - is that on some level, they love their people. But it is a strange love. It says, 'I love you for me; I don't love you for you.' That rhymes with a certain kind of Libyan father who was always certain about what was good for those around him. Those fathers lose in the end.

My father believed in armed struggle.

I am longing to see Libya rejoin the world as the internationalist Mediterranean country that it was.

I admire Turgenev, Camus, Proust and Shakespeare, but I've also learnt a lot about writing from composers and artists.

Great writing fills me with hopeful enthusiasm and never envy.

I hope and pray that I'll be one of those fortunate people who have many, many books to write. I don't begrudge writing. I love the whole thing!

I ultimately write for myself and the people I love.

We got rid of Muammar Gaddafi. I never thought I would be able to write these words.

I lost my father when I was 19, so the majority of my life has been under this cloud, and I have been full of the intention to find out what happened.

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first began to think about what profession I should go into. It was 1978. I was seven and had just been handed over by the women of my family to the earnest and self-important gatherings of the men. I was no longer the responsibility of my aunts and older female cousins. I was now a man. This was a tragedy.

Ivan Turgenev's novella 'First Love' is one of the most perfect things ever written.

I think my generation's inability to speak in absolute terms when it comes to politics is a very positive thing; it's made us more nuanced, made us more complex.

Civil war is a national crisis and also a private trauma: We suffer it collectively and in isolation.

We have defeated Gaddafi on the battlefield; now we must defeat him in our imagination. We must not allow his legacy to corrupt our dream. Let's keep focused on the true prize: unity, democracy, and the rule of law. Let's not seek revenge; that would diminish our future.

The Arab Spring, with all of its failings and failures, exposed the lie that if we are to live, then we must live as slaves. It was an attempt to undermine not only the orthodoxy of dictatorship but also an international political orthodoxy where every activity must be approved by the profit logic of the 'ledger.'

Gaddafi tried to give a masterclass to men like the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, on how to crush a civilian uprising.

Like most dictators, Col Gaddafi detests the metropolis. His vision of Libya is a kind of Bedouin romantic medievalism, suspicious of universities, theatres, galleries and cafes, and so monitors the cities' inhabitants with paranoid suspicion.

I don't remember a time when words were not dangerous.

My best hope is that Libya turns into a peaceful, sensible country that has all the things my father and lots of others have been calling for: independence of the courts and press, a protected and democratic constitution, with different parties involved in a healthy and open debate.

There is a tendency to over-exaggerate and over-romanticise the place of a writer in a revolution. That bothers me. I think it's inappropriate.

Switching languages is a form of conversion. And like all conversions, whether it's judged a failure or a success, it excites the desire to leave, go elsewhere, adopt a new language and start all over again. It also means that a conscious effort is demanded to remain still.

Nothing makes you feel more stupid than learning a new language. You lose your confidence. You want to disappear. Not be noticed. Say as little as possible.

When I'm writing, my mood is very good - and I love life.

Language is not just a code; you are writing into its history, into its tides.

Books have shown me horror and beauty.

It is easy to underestimate the demands of an open heart.

The cost of Colonel Gaddafi's rule on Libyan society is incalculable.

When I was 12 years old, living in Cairo, my parents enrolled me in the American school. Most of the Americans there appeared oddly stifled, determined to remain, if not physically then sentimentally, back in the United States.

Like all novelists, I'm interested in the filters between reality and the imagination.

The space where writing happens is a unique space that's hard to define, and when you're kicked out of it because you're travelling or distracted, it seems so elusive and hard to defend because you yourself doubt whether it existed.

To be okay with not knowing is a sign of a mature person and a mature society.

One of the reasons why Gadafy's dictatorship has managed to remain in power for so long is not just because it has shown itself to be able to exact a great deal of violence, both psychological and physical, on its people, but because it has been very successful at imposing a narrative, a story.

Grenfell, the building set on fire with the help of its own face, is a scene of a complex injustice: one that is moral, economic, political, and aesthetic. Not only was the cladding unsafe, it was ugly; not only was it ugly, it was untrue both to the architecture of the building it covered and untrue to its responsibility to human safety.

In 2006, I published my first novel, 'In the Country of Men.' The publication of the book gave me a bigger platform to speak about my father's abduction and Libya's human-rights record.

The Qaddafis, father and sons, speak the grammar of dictatorship: threats and bribery.

Making something of loss is, on some level, satisfying.

All great art allows us this: a glimpse across the limits of our self.

Gaddafi's ability to have survived so long rests on his convenient position in not being committed to a single ideology and his use of violence in such a theatrical way.

From before I was born, we Arabs have been caught between two forces that, seemingly, cannot be defeated: our ruthless dictators, who oppress and humiliate us, and the cynical western powers, who would rather see us ruled by criminals loyal to them than have democratically elected leaders accountable to us.

Turgenev's achievement lies in how he succeeded, in spite of himself, his country, and his time, in exempting his work from public duty. This has given it that unnameable quality that makes every sentence true, every silence trustworthy.

I am, by instinct, wary of revolutions. The gathering of the masses fills me with trepidation.