Howard Cunnell is a former professional scuba diving instructor and the author of The Sea on Fire. He also edited Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: The Original Scroll. Unsurprisingly, Kerouac crops up a lot in his life in books below.

2012: A year in books

What is your favourite book of the year?

Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat

What is your favourite Picador book ever?

= 1st Andre Dubus, Selected Stories and James Crumley, The Collected Novels

What are you looking forward to reading most next year?

Kester Aspden, Broken English - A Memoir

2012: everything else

What was your favourite cultural event of the year?

Jack Kerouac's On the Road Scroll manuscript at the British Library

Who is your hero of the year?

Collectively, The Occupy movement and like minded groups.

Who is your villain of the year?

The Tory government.

What was the best movie?

The Master

Becoming and being a writer

What would you be if you weren’t a writer?


What was your favourite book as a child?

S. E. Hinton, The Outsiders

What is the book you recommend most? 

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

What is your favourite poem?

Charles Bukowski, The Laughing Heart

Where do you write?

Anywhere I can.

Can you give one piece of advice to people wanting to become a writer?

I've found it's not a question of wanting to, but of having to. Then: persistence and luck.

Do you read on paper or ebook?


One book that changed your life?

S. E. Hinton, The Outsiders

One book you have read more than once?

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

Your worst ever job?

All the jobs I've done / am doing / have to do that stop me writing.