On the buses

Former Booker nominee prefers driving to writing

Magnus Mills, 55, found fame as the bus driver whose first novel was shortlisted for the 1998 Booker Prize. The Restraint of Beasts was about death and manipulation among fence builders. Despite the sudden prominence, he kept driving buses around London, but it’s taken him a decade and five more novels before he followed the ancient advice for authors: write what you know. Mill’s newest novel, The Maintenance Of Headway, published this month, is a lighter, comedic parade of bus drivers trying to save minutes and inspectors slowing them down to “maintain headway”—keeping buses equally spaced. He explained to a reporter why he doesn’t write full-time: “I don’t like it. You’re under obligation and have it hanging over you.” Does Mills actually want to write more? “Not at the moment, but I suppose I will. I’m a bit lazy about writing. I spend hours listening to music, messing about with my plants. I’m teaching myself piano. When I’m writing, I love it. But I’ve got so many other things.”

The Telegraph