Sunday with Joanne Harris: ‘Two breakfasts, hobbit-style’

By Samantha Rea
‘Kevin and I sit in the garden, drinking tea and talking’: Joanne Harris.
‘Kevin and I sit in the garden, drinking tea and talking’: Joanne Harris. Photograph: Sally Anderson/Alamy

What time are you up? On Saturday night I practise with my band. We’ve got a stage show called Storytime, so I’ll be singing, playing the flute and drinking margaritas until 3am. Sunday mornings I’ll take it easy. I get up at about 8.30am. That, to me, is a good lie-in.

What’s for breakfast? Porridge with honey and berries, or smoked salmon and avocado on toast, or a full English, vegetarian style. My husband Kevin likes this, and he’ll lie in longer than me, so sometimes I’ll wait until he’s up, other times I’ll have two breakfasts, hobbit-style.

Sunday afternoon? Kevin and I sit in the garden, drinking tea and talking, but if he’s watching sport, I’ll go to the greenhouse. I kitted it out as a mini lockdown gym, but usually I’ll lie in the hammock, reading books in the shade of the fig tree. I can smell the leaves, and if I’m lucky, it might give me some figs.

A special Sunday? Growing up, I spent summers in France, where my grandfather lived on the island of Noirmoutier. On a Sunday in late August, the whole family would get together for lunch, which would start with half a melon full of port. There’d be a leg of lamb roasted with rosemary and another roasted with garlic, with green flageolet beans and roast potatoes. French families don’t often have desserts, so we’d go to town for a splendid structured cake from the patisserie and, at the end of the meal, there would be Champagne, with Champagne biscuits – little sugary fingers – followed by interminable cups of coffee. The meal would go on for hours and everyone would talk themselves silly.

Sunday evening? I’ll go for a run, then have a nice long bath. I’ll light candles and lie there reading, then maybe we’ll watch Inspector Montalbano. It’s terribly written but the scenery’s wonderful.

How do you wind down before bed? I like to get away from screens, so I’ll do yoga and breathing exercises, then I’ll read for half an hour.

A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris is published by Orion at £20. Buy it for £17.40 from

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