If you read the fables, 'Beowulf,' for example, you will know something about the person who writes them, and I like that. Secondly, they will not be about individuals; they will be about community. Thirdly, they're all about moralizing. Fourthly, the way they express themselves takes its tone from the oral tradition.
When people asked me what I did, I'd say, 'I work in publishing', and when they then say, 'What side of it?', I say, 'Supply' - no doubt leaving them to think I drive the books around in a van and deliver them.
Storytelling enables us to play out decisions before we make them, to plan routes before we take them, to work out the campaign before we start the war, to rehearse the phrases we're going to use to please or placate our wives and husbands.
While we're having all these debates about how the book is being destroyed by the Kindle, we have to remember that narrative will not be affected at all because it's part of our makeup as a creature on this planet.
Even though the method of 'Harvest' was a historical novel, its intentions were that of a modern novel. I'm asking you to think about land being seized in Brazil by soya barons. It's also a novel about immigration.
The Commonwealth Prize is about celebrating the Commonwealth and the special relationship we have with the ex-colonies - which is part guilt and part warmth - and the Booker Prize isn't an essential part of that, but it is part of that.
If I talk about my father's funeral, as I did when I was promoting the last novel, 'Being Dead,' I'm not going to tell any lies, but there are certain things I'm not going to tell you, and I'm certainly not going to tell my grief.
I'm not thinking when I'm writing, 'How's this going to read?' Or, 'What percentage of the audience is going to stay with me?' The thing itself is what gives me pleasure. Sometimes stuff just falls onto the page so beautifully and happily that it's deeply satisfying. It's selfish!
There is no reason why the Louvre should be your favourite gallery just because it has the grandest collections in France, any more than Kew should necessarily be a favourite garden because it has the largest assemblage of plants, or Tesco your chosen shop because it has the widest variety of canned beans.
Narrative has been part of human consciousness for a long time. And if it has played a part in all those thousands of years, it will know a trick or two. It will be wise. It will be mischievous. It will be helpful. It will be generous.