There is a convention among interviewers that you wait for dessert, when the knives have been cleared and a sense of camaraderie has set in, to ask your trickiest questions. I should have guessed that Carmen Callil — founder of Virago Press, publisher of Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and Angela Carter, a woman who accused Philip Roth of “going on and on and on” — would have no time for such cowardliness. I have barely started on my pork terrine when she strikes.

“I do feel that you must have had a terrible time reading about me,” she says. “Every year at Chatto [& Windus, the publishing imprint] — which I ran for over a decade — we have an annual dinner. And this year I made a speech, and I apologised to them for being a difficult woman. Because I definitely was, and am, probably. But, you know, sometimes you have to be difficult if you want to change the world. You can’t do it by being ... mimsy.”

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