The Random 19 with world-famous novelist Tracy Chevalier.


Tracy Chevalier FRSL is an author of 10 novels, perhaps best known for the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, a timeless modern classic that became an international bestseller with over five million copies soldaround the world.

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy is a Trustee of the Dorset Museum and the British Library, an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust, and a Patron of the Dorchester Literary Festival and the Lyme Regis Museum. Tracy and her husband divide their time between London and the Piddle Valley.

The Random 19

1. What’s your relationship with the Blackmore Vale (the area, not us!)?

We’ve had a cottage in the Piddle Valley since 2004. Since July 2020 we’ve lived here full time. It’s a better place to be in a pandemic.

2. What was the last song you sang out loud in your car?

American Pie by Don McLean; I was coming back from the supermarket in Sherborne.

3. Last movie you watched? Would you recommend it?

My Octopus Teacher, a documentary about a diver’s relationship with an octopus he sees every day. It’s very moving.

4. It’s Friday night – you have the house to yourself, and no work is allowed. What are you going to do?

A big G&T, tortilla chips and some trash telly!

5. If you were sent to an island for a year and could only bring three things, what would you bring (the island is already equipped with a magical power source, a phone and a laptop)?

A guitar – so that I can learn how to play.• A Good Pillow. Never unrestimate the power of a good pillow.• Moby Dick. Because it’s long, and I haven’t read it.

6. Who’s your celebrity crush?

Jodie Foster.

7. What would you like to tell 15yr old you?

You are going to be amazed’

8. What book did you read last year that stayed with you?

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, about four women who go on holiday together in Italy without
knowing one another, and find themselves. It was during lockdown and I was missing travel!

9. What’s your secret superpower?

I find four-leaf clovers easily.

10. What shop can you not pass without going in?

Pretty much any jewellery shop…

11. Favourite quote? Movie, book or inspirational – we won’t judge.

‘Less is more’

12. Write the review for the last thing you cooked (no cheating – the actual last thing!).

I made pasta with capers, avocado, basil and lemon zest. It is a wonderful, quick, no-fail recipe by Anna Jones. My guests loved it. I urge you to look it up – my tip is ‘use more avocado’ (or simply click here. You’re welcome – Ed)

13. A penguin just walked in the door wearing a panama hat. Why is he here?

He is looking for Paddington Bear.

14. Your top three most-visited favourite websites (excluding social media!)?

• BBC News

• Wolf & Badger (clothing)

• National Gallery.

15. Chip Shop Chips or Homebaked Cake?

Cake every time.

16. Favourite crisp flavour?

Just salt. Flavours are disgusting (That’s the American coming out in me).

17. The best biscuit for dunking?

Dunking is disgusting, says the American.

18. What in life is frankly a mystery to you?

That atoms are so small and the universe is so big. The scale always amazes and frightens me.

19. You have the power to pass one law tomorrow, uncontested. What would you do?

Everyone has to read a book a month set in a country that isn’t theirs, about people who are nothing like them


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