Arts Q&A: John Boyne on Will Young and his tattoo in homage to Kate Bush

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, author John Boyne

Irish novelist John Boyne, best known for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, will be appearing at this summer's Open House Festival in Bangor

1. When did you think about writing as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I wanted to write ever since I was a kid. Reading and writing were always connected for me and when I fell in love with the former, I also became hooked on the latter. I spent most of my teens writing stories and eventually started to get some published.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

I don't go to too many gigs as I don't like being stuck in the middle of crowds, but I went to the opening night of Kate Bush's Before The Dawn concert a couple of years ago and it was amazing. I've been an uber-fan since I was about 13 and have a tattoo on my right arm in homage to her.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

I suppose The Beatles would be pretty good.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Aerial by Kate Bush.

5. And the book?

The Go-Between by LP Hartley.

6. Top three films?

The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Silence of the Lambs and Notorious.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?


8. Favourite authors?

John Irving, John Banville, Sarah Waters.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I'm sorry, but what is this 'sport' you speak of?

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Sydney, Australia. I go there every year for around a month.

11. Pet hate?

Noisy eaters.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Sushi.

Dessert? Cheesecake.

Drink? Champagne.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

His name's Stephen Walsh and we met when we were around seven years old in altar boys. He still makes me laugh like no-one else can and we've never had a cross word in 38 years.

14. Is there a God?

Yes, and his name’s Will Young.

:: John Boyne will be taking part in this year's Open House Festival in Bangor; he will be in conversation with Marie-Louise Muir at the Space Theatre on August 2. For ticketing and full festival details visit

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