Sedley: In my twenties I wrote a lot of plays, but when I moved to Southern Italy I was still interested in writing. The first book I wrote there was about a brigand called Joe Summo. I wrote it in an invented dialect, but who was going to read that!... The stories for The Half Days first came to me in the early 2000s. At the time Bin Laden had just knocked down the World Trade Centre and everyone was itching to go into Afghanistan... And yet there I was on the edge of Europe, right in the heel of Italy, going to the beach, jumping off rocks and diving into coves. (Laughing) It was a kind of dream.
Tony: That's how you got the idea for The Half Days.
Sedley: That's right. (Laughing) "The Half Days Stretch Into the Summer Nights."... That was the attraction I suppose. Those rock beaches, the water was always so clean and clear. Then you'd get out and dry off for a bit, then slip back in.
Tony: You'd burn your arse off.
Sedley: I knew an Irish poet, actually he worked at the university. He always used to say that. I'm going to the beach to burn my arse off.
Tony: What about you?
Sedley (Laughing): My girlfriend, she was always covering me in sun cream and making me sit under the parasol. Mind you I still burnt my arse off.