Bill Clegg turned to fiction after writing two memoirs detailing his addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol. If there’s more to say about the subject of dependency, he says, ‘I'll tell my cat, Benny.’

Clegg is a high-profile American literary agent as well as author, although his own agency folded as a result of a two-month drug binge. His earliest brush with addiction was also almost his last: at 13 he was hit by a car with an inebriated driver behind the wheel. He thinks of himself primarily as an agent: ‘When I finish a week of writing,’ he says, ‘I’m sick of my own head and desperate to get into the work of someone else.’ And writing has made him more sympathetic to his authors: ‘the excitement and the vulnerability: I especially identify with that.’

Bill Clegg

All nominated books

Did You Ever Have a Family