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Kathy Lette: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

The Steeple Times asks author Kathy Lette: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

I only write because it’s cheaper than therapy. Therapy and revenge. You can always impale an enemy on the end of your pen. Poetic justice is the only true justice in the world, and I say that married to a lawyer!


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

Firstly: “Don’t wait to be rescued by a Knight in Shining Armani”. Secondly: “A woman must stand on her own two stilettos”. Oh, and thirdly: “Your female friends are your human wonder bras – uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better”.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

I would like to say misogyny is unacceptable in 2013, but as women still don’t have equal pay – we only get 80 pence in the pound, plus we’re constantly getting concussion hitting our heads on the glass ceiling, while also being expected to Windex it whilst up there, any woman who call herself a ‘post feminist’ has kept her wonder bra and burnt her brains.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

I miss smooth, youthful skin with no sun-damage or wrinkles. Ageing to women is like kryptonite to superman. Show me a woman who is happy with her age and I’ll show you the electro-convulsive therapy scorch marks. The trouble is, women suffer from facial prejudice – we get judged on our looks in a way that men don’t. For women, wordplay is foreplay. How else is Woody Allen still getting laid? But don’t resort to cosmetic surgery – a woman should never pick her nose, especially from a catalogue. Dimmer switch – greatest beauty aid known to womankind!


What might you swap all your wealth for?

The best things in life really are free – walking, talking, laughter, air and orgasms. Which is just as well as authors don’t make a lot of money. We’re in a constant state of debt-lag. I don’t understand finance. I thought ‘stag flation’ meant stalking something elk-like in the Scottish highlands with minor royalty.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

It seems that the only banks we can count on, post crash, are sperm banks. Write a cheque these days and the whole bank bounces. And yet bankers receive bonuses for this? It’s mind-boggling.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“It’s not the done thing” because once I do it, its done – so then it’s the “done thing”. I adore my British pals, but they do have Eyore-itis and a sense of impending failure. But optimism is not an eye disease. If you try something new, it might just work.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

What I really like about the British is that you give generously to charitable causes and developing countries. You don’t believe in the skimmed milk of human kindness. As I have a child on the autistic spectrum (I adore him and he’s without doubt, the most original and interesting person I’ve ever met and the inspiration for my latest novel The Boy Who Fell To Earth, about the mother of an autistic boy and her quirky quest for love), I am an ambassador for the National Autistic Society. As I’m also a feminist, I am an ambassador for Plan, The White Ribbon Alliance and Women and Children First – three charitable organizations devoted to making sure that women are not runners up in the human race.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

I have no idea what this question means. If you’re talking about mobile phone usage, I love my phone. I’m not on the Atkins Diet, but the Talkins diet – I just talk the weight off.


Author Kathy Lette
Author Kathy Lette

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

As I adore wit and wordplay, I would have Mae West and Dorothy Parker – two women who have black belts in the art of tongue-fu. Plus Oscar Wilde, Spike Milligan, Douglas Adams and Shakespeare – all excellent cunning linguists. And of course, Emily Pankhurst and Simone de Beauvoir and other heroines of the women’s movement because without them, where would the rest of us be? Our talents would still be lying doormat, sorry dormant for decades as men walked all over us.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

My last meal would be a toy boy on a bed of meringue, eaten in a suite at the Savoy Hotel – ah, parting would be such suite sorrow. I was writer in residence there in 2004.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Children’s bath time – a stiff G and T is mother’s little helper. This habit continues well into their teens. Advice for any mothers of teenage daughters – next time your daughter hits you and kicks you and says “I wish you’d just die!” take a big drag on your cigarette and a big gulp of wine and say “I’m doing my best darling”. No mother can remain an aqua-holic.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Champagne – the least calorific drink and so effervescent. Otherwise a martini. But they make me tipsy so fast I get severe bottle fatigue.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I’m a socialist and a socialite, so my favourite parties combine a little of both – passion and politics, frivolity and fervor, flirtation and fierce debate. I’m leaving money in my will for the most chandelier-swinging send off ever. Plus I’ve thought of my epitaph – “Finally, a good plot”.


Who is the most positive person you know?

Eve Ensler who works with rape victims in the Congo and manages to restore their faith in life and humanity. She also organized One Billion Rising campaign, to stop violence againt women – one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Ah, you see, I don’t think pleasure should be guilty. Guilt – the gift that just keeps on giving! Guilt, or rather gilt should only be on rings. If you’re asking me what I like to do in sneaky moments – bubblebaths, when I should be doing housework.  It’s scientifically proven that no woman ever shot her husband while she was having  a soak and he was vacuuming.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

My tattoo would say: “This is why I’m such a good lay. If the sex gets boring, at least I’ve given you something to read”.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

Once again, I have no idea what this question means. The only thing I know about cars is that men thinks “sex drive” means doing it in the back seat of one – possibly because of that sign on the rear vision mirror which reads: “Objects in this mirror may appear larger than they are.”


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

Even though I pretend that the only thing I run up are bills, I am actually very fit. I run, jog, swim or cycle every day.


What’s on your mantelpiece?

Well, I’d like to say “My Nobel Prize for Literature” presented to me by George Clooney who then whisked me off to tropical isle to lick the roe of virgin sturgeon from my navel – but actually it’s all the little finger-paintings my kids did when they were young, which are haphazardly but endearingly framed.


Kathy Lette is an Australian born author who lives in London. Her novels have been published in seventeen languages around the world and her first, Puberty Blues, was made into both a film and a television miniseries. She cites her career highlights as once teaching Stephen Fry a word, Salman Rushdie, the limbo and scripting Julian Assange’s cameo in the 500th episode of The Simpsons. Lette’s latest novel The Boy Who Fell to Earth has just been published in paperback by Black Swan.


View Kathy Lette’s official website at:


Follow her on Twitter at:


Buy The Boy Who Fell to Earth at:


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