1. I had an obsession with New York City for about two years – even seeing the words “New York” printed on things made me giddy.
2. I like to skinny dip.
3. I had my first poem published in a little homemade magazine called Spin in 1992, and my last poem published in a big not-homemade magazine called Sport in 1994. I don’t write poetry anymore.
4. Things I will never forget from school: the three types of rock are igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary; that Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914; and that c’est Mercredi aujourd’hui, et Catherine et Phillipe non pas classe.
5. I was a vegetarian for two years, and ate more dairy products in that time than is really good for a person.
6. I dream a lot about my teeth falling out. Apparently, that means I’m feeling anxious about money. Or my dental health.
7. I adore maps. I get angry when I hear the stereotype that women can’t read maps.
8. I drink about eight cups of tea a day.
9. I stayed in a bombed out train carriage in Sarajevo in 1999, where every night I could hear an opera singer practicing. The people who lived in the train watched bad Australian dramas on TV.
10. When I was a child, it was my job to water the runner beans. I hate runner beans.
11. Three books that make me jealous I didn’t write them: 1984, Waterland, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
12. I get nervous before doing interviews, and struggle to think of good questions on the fly.
13. I used to do debating at school. I was pretty useless at it, and am not very articulate.
14. It took eight hours for Harper to be born. I only swore once.
15. I love custard, salmon, Béarnaise sauce, deep fried cheese European style, tarragon and beetroot, among other things.
16. I also love the smell of aviation fuel.
17. I cry when I’m stressed.
18. The most famous person I have ever spoken to is Michael Palin. He was at home in London having breakfast. He talked a lot about his grandson and hardly made any jokes.
19. I have spent quite a bit of time and money learning French, but I can’t even really string a sentence together, and talking to actual live French people makes me nervous.
20. I wish science could come up with a sunscreen and insect repellent in pill form. It would change my life immensely.
21. I was accepted into Bill Manhire’s masters’ class the first year it was offered, but I turned my spot down shortly before the class started. I have since applied three more times and been rejected. So I went to journalism school instead.
22. I’m not a big drinker, and before I was pregnant stuck to a three-drink rule. Nowadays, one drink pretty much knocks me out.
23. I share my birthday with Frank Sinatra, which seems appropriate considering my New York phase.
24. I would like to travel to Africa, and drive around the Deep South of the US.
25. Three movies that had me sobbing from the opening credits: Iris, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Colour Purple.