Andrew Hagan reminisces:
I have to tell you it wasn't really the library that made me a writer. That dubious accolade must surely go to the film of Doctor Zhivago. My brothers and I were always hanging around our house at night looking for things to burn, but this night I found myself watching Dr Zhivago. There’s a scene in that movie when Omar Sharif comes gliding down the stairs in a flowing dressing gown, Omar Sharif, you know, following his rather impressive moustache down the stairs. Well, he arrives in this room a giant study, you know, French windows, flowery armchairs, the lot. He sits down at this elegant ecritoir and looks out of the windows, where he sees, in quick succession, a host of daffodils, a bank of snow, a full moon and a herd of deer. (God bless Hollywood.) Anyhow, I'm watching this with wide eyes. Next thing he lifts up a feather pen and without any ink blotches or crossings out or mistakes, and it takes him about 3.4 nanoseconds he writes the 'Sonnet to Lara'. After which he goes upstairs and goes to bed with Julie Christie. I remember watching that very closely and thinking, "I could do that."