How does one write like a fat (or indeed thin) old man?

This question was raised at the recent Historical Materialism conference in London over the weekend. Not during a paper, but through a serendipitous meeting.

Alberto Toscano introduced me to Nina Power, who said, ‘Oh, that’s a surprise! I imagined from your writing that you were a fat old man’.

Alberto said, ‘What do you mean – he writes like one?’

So I had to ask, ‘How does a fat old man write?’

‘Or, for that matter’, said Alberto, ‘a skinny old man?’

I have been trying to figure out that conundrum ever since.

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