Author Lionel Shriver on sculpting, staying humble and slamming tennis balls

Author Lionel Shriver opens up about her most precious possessions, from old watches to ‘goofy’ gifts…

Gemma Day

 

Gemma Day

I picked up this metal ring off the street in Norway when I was about 15, on our first family trip out of the us. I wore it as a ring for almost 20 years – I’ve now retired it to this little box.

Gemma Day

I have had this old fashioned metal wind-up toy horse called Clippity since I was about nine. I keep it on my desk to remind me of both my humble beginnings and to stay humble.

Gemma Day

I was in another relationship for nine years before I met my husband Jeff [Williams, jazz drummer] in 2002. These toys were part of a goofy stocking I gave my ex one Christmas. I’m a little sad that he left them behind, but they’re a warm reminder that we still care about each other, even if it didn’t last for ever.

Gemma Day

I was so exasperated with the covers my publisher suggested for my novel The Post-Birthday World that I drew this one instead – it helped to move the design on to a cover I really liked.

Gemma Day

This is one of many ceramic sculptures I have made. I call this one The Smoker – I like her sense of cool indifference. It looks robust, but it’s extremely fragile. From childhood, I was equally divided between writing and art. I treasure the physicality of sculpting – it’s something I do just for myself.

Gemma Day

This glass tennis ball was a present from the editor of my book Double Fault. Tennis is important to me as my father Donald taught my brothers and me to play. I don’t care much for a proper game – I just like to hit the ball really hard, but within the lines.

Gemma Day

I was an eccentric child and loved making up little projects, pulling things apart and putting them back together. This was my paternal grandfather’s watch – it had stopped working, so I redesigned it and added little messages to myself inside the clock face, such as ‘finish poster’, when I was about ten.

Gemma Day

A framed copy of The Economist, with the cover line ‘We Need To Talk About Kim’, hangs on the door of my study. It gives me a great sense of achievement in a kooky way. My 2003 novel We Need To Talk About Kevin made my reputation, but my favourite book is So Much For That. It has a lot of feeling.

Gemma Day

This was my elder brother Greg’s wallet, one of the few things of his I kept after he died in 2009. He made it himself – he liked things to be heavy and durable. I kept his hard hat and his power drill, too. We shared a great love for tools and making things.

Lionel’s new book Property: A Collection will be published by Borough Press on Thursday, price £14.99