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He is not alone. Will Self, Don DeLillo and Frederick Forsyth are also members of the small and select group of writers who find typewriters more conducive to the creative process than their electronic counterparts. Self, who admits to "fetishising" the old-fashioned machines, says he enjoys the enforced discipline of the typewriter: "Writing on a manual makes you slower in a good way, I think. You don't revise as much, you just think more, because you know you're going to have to retype the entire fucking thing. Which is a big stop on just slapping anything down and playing with it." DeLillo, meanwhile, says he needs to hear the words take shape as he "sculpts" his books. "I need the sound of the keys, the keys of a manual typewriter," he told one interviewer. "The hammers striking the page. I like to see the words, the sentences, as they take shape. It's an aesthetic issue: when I work I have a sculptor's sense of the shape of the words I'm making. I use a machine with larger than average letters: the bigger the better." Forsyth, who also admires their bullet-stopping properties and their simplicity, finds typewriters to be reassuringly secure allies in a treacherous world. "I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again," he points out. "And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure." For most of us, what writers type is of more interest than how they do it, but for others, there remains an undeniable fascination in learning which literary masters used which bit of kit. Hemingway, for example, liked to bash away at a 1940s Royal between bouts of drinking, fighting and chasing women and bulls. And EE Cummings, scourge of the upper case, used a typewriter to striking, if discombobulating, effect in his poetry. The kings of the literary typists, though, was probably Jack Kerouac. The Beat master's ability to hammer out 100-plus words a minute may have helped him convey his loose, quick-fire thoughts, but it also prompted Capote's uncharitable observation: "That's not writing, that's typing."