The novelist on how it took him two days, writing through the nights, to complete a first draft of his famous Holocaust novel for younger readers, and how he remains ‘immensely proud’ of it
I was 15 years old when a teacher read out a list of books that our class might like to read over the summer break. Eager to immerse myself in adult literature, I pounced on his suggestions. By chance, the first two books I chose were on a similar topic: Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table.
At the time, my awareness of the Holocaust was fairly basic. These two books introduced me to it at a visceral level. I became absorbed in the subject and, over the years that followed, returned to it repeatedly through dozens of novels, biographies, nonfiction and documentaries.