I felt that winning all the major prizes by the time I was in my mid-30s just took away that pressure because I always feared that it would distort my artistic direction. It would make me cowardly; it would make me play safe. My novels could become a series of applications for prizes, trying to second-guess what juries would like and what they wouldn’t like. So looking back now, I feel it was a real blessing that I got the prizes out of the way. Of course, I never expected to win the Nobel, so I thought — by the time I won the Booker at the age of 34, I thought, “Well, I’ve done the prizes; now I can just forget about prizes.” And I think that’s quite important because I think there’s something about writing. One of the great joys and powerful things about writing is it’s a solo activity. I love cinema. I admire theater. These are collaborative art forms, and they produce great work. But there’s something special for me about the fact that when someone writes a novel, it’s just one person. When I’m reading a novel, I’m communicating with just a single consciousness. I think that’s very special. And I think, for that reason, it’s kind of important that a person is not exactly left alone, but we shouldn’t think too much about the worldly aspect of a writing career when we’re trying to create. And it’s very difficult not to. You’re human. And to be liberated from worrying about prizes — where you are in the pecking order — I think that, for me, was a tremendous freedom.