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Robert Harris: “Power is of endless interest”

February 10, 2016

Mr. Harris, satire is said to be the price politicians have to pay. What is the price you have to pay as an author?

Well, in De re publica Cicero wrote, “The worst rule of all would be government by clever poets.” I thought that was such a brilliant line! (Laughs) As a writer, I have to obviously go through a process of criticism, which can be painful. Often people don’t like your books — and they tell you. You’re judged by the public all the time, so in a sense that’s quite like politics. I don’t lose my job, though; I don’t lose my seat. But of course people stop buying my books and people stop being interested, so much like a politician, I’m dependent on public favor.

Many of your novels deal with political fiction, of course, but was it ever your wish to go into politics as

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