So, you’ve written a novel [Rare Earth]… presumably because there simply isn’t enough economics news at the moment?

I actually wrote it in 2009 when we were in a bit of a lull. And I was in China and it just hit me that you are never going to tell the story of China factually because so much of it is hidden from you. They’re going to have their Katrina and their riots and you’ll never know about it. The novel starts in the same way as the Newsnight story I did, in pursuit of corruption and a pollution scandal and I just saw where that took me. Although when the ghosts come in is when it slightly diverges from reality. The ghosts and the crazed female biker gang.

Ah yes, the ‘Steel Fuchsias’ girl gang…they seemed like they might be the construct of some sort of middle-aged male fantasy?

Well, they’re not a male fantasy because if you saw the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China you would have seen a bunch of women goose-stepping through Tiananmen Square in pink miniskirts and white leather boots. I was wondering whose male fantasy that was to put them in the Communist party parade.

Read the full interview in The Observer

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