An Interview with Ruth Artmonsky by her Granddaughter Sally Harpley

Ruth Artmonsky with her granddaughter Sally Harpley
Ruth with Sally Harpley

S.H: How did you get into writing?

R.A: Someone was writing a book that I had wanted to write and taking a long time doing so and I thought I could write more quickly [I wasn't sure I could write better, however]. What I enjoyed was researching odd, unremembered people and artwork and sharing it with others. Writing was the way I chose to do it.

S.H: Who is your greatest inspiration as writer?

R.A: A man called Alan Powell who is extremely knowledgable about, and sensitive to, beautiful, but every day things like buildings, and illustrated books, and well... nearly everything.

S.H: What book do you wish you had written?

R.A: I wish I had, or could, write an academic, serious, yet readable, history of advertising and the people involved in it.

S.H: Do you think your earlier career in psychology has an influence on your style/subject of writing?

R.A: Absolutely, even though I was a statistical psychologist and definitely not one interested in such fantasies as psychoanalysis; for although I write about paper and books and printing and prints it is the people behind that really interest me - creative people.

S.H: If you were any fictional character, which would you be?

R.A: I would like to be Jo in 'Little Women'

S.H: How many more books do you plan on writing?

R.A: I am in the middle of writing 3 and health permitting I hope to write 2 or 3 after that. But they are light books, not particularly academic.

S.H: What do you like reading for leisure?

R.A: I read newspapers. I have given up reading fiction.

S.H: What are your three desert island books?

R.A: Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina and a dictionary, as large as possible.

S.H: Do you have any regrets in life?

R.A: I regret that I did not have enough time to give my darling daughters when they were growing up.

S.H: How do you want to be remembered?

R.A: As an eccentric, who clung on to the socialist idealism of her youth, and who loved books and paper and everything that was upon them.