Rachel Seiffert, profiled at the Guardian, talks about writing and promoting books that get you down.
In the year or so after her Booker-shortlisted debut The Dark Room was published in 2001, Rachel Seiffert woke up every morning feeling sad. Not because Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang had deprived her of the prize – she actually claims to have been relieved not to have won (”I’m not very good at hoo-ha”). But because she was on a long promotional tour publicising the book, which tells the story of three Germans struggling to come to terms with the Nazi legacy, and spending all day, every day, thinking and talking about genocide on a barely imaginable scale. “It took me a while to work out why I was sad all the time, and then it occurred to me that if you begin each day getting up and talking about the Holocaust over breakfast with someone you’ve never met before, it’s no surprise you feel low,” she says now.