Andrew O'Hagan, 2011; copyright: Robert Perry/TSPL/Writer Pictures
By CATHARINE MORRIS
“I believe in the truth of what Martha Gellhorn said”, Andrew O’Hagan told Sam Leith at a “Hidden Prologues” event at Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in Bloomsbury last week. “If you’re going to write about war, you have to taste it.” So, in 2013, for his fifth novel The Illuminations, O’Hagan spent a number of weeks with soldiers in Afghanistan. He was not, “even for a day”, in the kind of danger faced by many war reporters, he said, but he “did get to taste the fear because it was straightforwardly very frightening”.