10 Things…with Charlotte Levin


Debut author Charlotte Levin, whose novel If I Can’t Have You is now out in paperback, answers our questions.

What is a typical day for you?

At the moment, there’s no such thing. Each day is disorganised chaos. But included will be some writing, day job, and house stuff, and then suddenly it’s bedtime, and I realise I’ve not actually achieved anything. Rinse and repeat!

What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?

Seeing humans. I’ve locked myself away for a year now. Although I can envisage attending my first social event and thinking that I can’t wait to get home. I’m also hoping I get to see my book in a shop at some point!

What was your favourite subject at school?

Art and Drama. We were supposed to pick one of the arts for GCSE, but they let me do both. I was unsure which path to take but decided to pursue acting. It didn’t go well.

What surprises you about your job that you didn’t expect?

How hard it is! And stressful. I’d always imagined being a writer would be all calm and relaxing. No.

If you had to change career, what other job would you love to have?

Interior designer.

Favourite books

I’m not sure I actually have favourite books, because I can like things for all different reasons. But here’s some that have forever stayed with me.

  • Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates– such brilliant writing and understanding of relationships. And funny (though no one else seems to think so).
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov – I’m yet to read anything as well-written.
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte – I was shocked at how dark and toxic it was. I blame the films.
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess – I read this begrudgingly for a book club and loved it.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman Capote – I really love this story. It’s much grittier than the film and lacks its Hollywood ending.

Favourite film 

Back to the Future – Michael J Fox was my first love and I saw that film more times at the cinema that was probably healthy.

Best sandwich

I appreciate this will be the worst sandwich answer anyone could give, but I love just salad and mayo. Not cheese or anything, just salad. Is that weird?

Coffee or tea? 

Decaf tea, and chamomile – I’ve not had caffeine in about 15 years.

Which author, living or dead, would you like to write your biography

Sally Rooney. Guaranteed to be a bestseller and people may be fooled into thinking I’m cool.

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester and If I Can’t Have You is her first novel.

1 February 2021