The Proust Questionnaire: Tim Atkin MW

Tim Atkin MW is an award-winning wine writer, TV personality and photographer. He lives in London with his wife Sue.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Great food and wine, great music, close friends.

What is your greatest fear? 

To be inactive because of illness.

Who do you most admire?

It’s not an original response, but Nelson Mandela.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Wine, black-and-white photography, shirts.

What is your current state of mind? 
Positive. I’m a glass (or preferably bottle) half full kind of guy.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

Intuition.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I’m going to make a list.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife.

When and where were you happiest?

Avignon in 1982. And here, right now.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To play the piano like Keith Jarrett.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To be more patient.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Earning a good living as a freelance journalist for more than 20 years.

Where would you most like to live?

London or New York. I love big cities.

What is your most treasured possession?

A black-and-white photo by Josef Koudelka.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Energy.

Who are your favorite writers?

Marcel Proust, Philip Larkin, Michael Frayn, Rose Tremain, WH Auden, William Shakespeare, Gustave Flaubert, John Updike, F Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Heller among others.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Holden Caulfield.

What is it that you most dislike?

The London transport system is right up there, but I most dislike anyone who uses violence to settle disagreements.

What is your greatest regret?

That I didn’t learn to read music as a child.

What is your motto?

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?

William Shakespeare, Dorothy Parker and Henri Cartier-Bresson. It would have to be fine Burgundy, Montrachet and Chambertin perhaps, but who’s paying?

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