This article is from 2006.
Jenny Diski is not the most likely travel writer or, indeed, traveller. She regards travel books as ‘a waste of space unless they are more about the person than just descriptions of the place.’ She adds that: ‘going places isn’t necessarily the best way to know about the world. You can learn more by studying them than going as a tourist. All tourists tend to get are dull and inaccurate facts.’ However, she’s taken herself off on solo journeys: crossing the Atlantic in a ship with an all-male crew (‘They were all charming, gentlemanly and romantic’); travelling round America by train; and trying to stay idle in New Zealand, Lapland, and Somerset.
‘I do what I do and regret it afterwards. It’s much more satisfying travelling alone as I can do what I want, be what I want and make myself available or not available for things. Nobody killed me and I didn’t kill anyone.’ Her fearlessness seems to seep between her fiction and non-fiction. Believing ‘there are no subjects people shouldn’t write and think about,’ she has ventured into the taboo and unorthodox in her novels, taking in sado-masochism, a mother who christens her baby Nonentity, and the complexities of human relationships in Genesis. (Katie Gould)
19 Aug (with Taras Grescoe), 4pm, £7 (£5).