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Chris binchy

Last book you read?

Breath, by Tim Winton. It's about a couple of young guys on the west coast of Australia learning to surf and coming under the influence of an older guy. It's very unsettling and beautiful.

Favourite book?

The three Frank Bascombe books by Richard Ford, The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land are hard to beat.

Favourite film?

Goodfellas is close to flawless I think.

Favourite painter?

I like Matisse a lot.

Favourite radio show, or presenter?

I didn't get George Hook at all when I listened first and then, without meaning to, found that I was tuning in every day when making dinner. I started missing him when I was away.

Favourite piece of music?

I'm listening to the second album by Beirut. The band is really one guy, a 21-year old American who travelled throughout eastern Europe and France and recruited a load of musicians to play with him.

Favourite country to visit?

Thailand. For a mix of food and pleasure and culture and people. And it's cheap.

Favourite TV show?

I will always watch old Simpsons episodes.

Food?

Vietnamese has really intense flavours and contrasting textures, while being fresh and light. It's not like anything else.

Wine?

I like it all.

Biggest influence in your professional life?

People like Patrick McCabe and Colm Toibin and Anne Enright and Joseph O'Connor, who wrote extraordinary books about ordinary worlds that I recognised, were very important.

Cultural blackspot?

I'm ignorant when it comes to ballet and modern dance, and not particularly concerned about that fact.

Chris Binchy's book Open-handed, is published by Penguin Ireland at €14.99

Paul Whitington