Saturday, June 30, 2012

John Banville interview

"I spend two, three to five years writing a book. I know its failings. I know the few areas in which it's succeeded. The only person who can't read this book is me because I bring to it all the history, all the dead cats and slime and that Tuesday afternoon when you said 'Fuck it', and you let the paragraph go." 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Joshua Henkin Interview

The Millions has a great interview with Joshua Henkin, the novelist.


Someone once said that there are only two kinds of stories, Stranger Comes to Town and Person Goes on a Trip — which is really just one kind of story, since Stranger Comes to Town is simply Person Goes on a Trip from a different point of view. I don’t find this particularly perturbing. Yes, every story has been told, but it’s the way of telling — the how — that makes every writer unique, and if you have a distinct voice, if there’s emotional truth to your characters, if you use language in service of this voice and these characters, then your book will be distinct. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Elias Khoury interview

“I don’t know how the events in the Arab world will affect my writing. Maybe I will not write about them but they will affect my style. So things are much more complicated, but I think that writing literature is something much more serious than writing about current events ... It is a very deep thing which is a dialogue with your time and a dialogue with the dead."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last recorded words of Jorge Luis Borges

I never reread what I publish. Awful to think students are examined on what I write. But what can I do about it? Reading is felicity, and I hate the thought it should be forced on anyone.

more

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mario Vargas Llosa interview/2

The Guardian has an interesting interview with Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel-prize winning author.
The Nobel prize is a fairytale for a week and a nightmare for a year. You can't imagine the pressure to give interviews, to go to book fairs. The first year was very difficult. I could barely write." 


Mario Vargas Llosa interview/1

Friday, June 15, 2012

Roberto Bolano an antidote to creative writing school product?

His premature death also may have had something to do with the excitement around his work, but not that much. He’s a writer who invented a commanding, distinctive style, in the largest sense of the word—a way of organizing experience as well as words—which is a pretty rare achievement. That spoke to many readers, for a number of reasons—I’ve heard, for example, that he is an antidote to the North American model of the professional novelist groomed by creative writing schoolsThere might be something symptomatic about his success, but I think that the main reason for it is that he is a fascinating singularity.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Of Arab writers and books


In the Fascinated by the Arab World, Prof Roger Allen has an interesting take on Arab writers and literature, and recommends some great books.

Over the decades I met Mahfouz many times; my favorite time was when I went to his Tuesday night session with his friends (including other novelists–Jamal al-Ghitani and Yusuf al-Qa`id, the poet, `Abd al-rahman al-Abnudi, and others) on a houseboat moored on the Giza side of the River Nile (I’m attaching a photograph of one of those occasions, the last time I saw him before his death). Whenever I came, he always reminded me that I had sent him a copy of GOD’S WORLD in 1973 and it had reached him on his birthday!  Above all, he had a terrific sense of humor, and was always ready with “one-liners”…

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ruth Franklin on book criticism

Monday, June 11, 2012

Celebrating 50th anniversary of a novel!

Bestsellers come and go, and readers are never really bothered. But this novel has been on the bestseller list for fifty years, and still enthralls the readers. Through translations, this Bengali novel has now even generated interest in Europe and elsewhere.

The novel is Chowringhee by well-known Bengali author Sankar. It's about an opulent Kolkata hotel, the melting pot of varied and interesting characters.

Deys' Publishing, the publisher of this book since 1970, celebrated on June 9 the fiftieth anniversary of its appearance, in association with Penguin India, which has recently published the English translation of the novel.

"A few Bengali authors have achieved this feat," says the septugenarian author on this occasion, " but today it's special because the book and the author both are present."

The novel is now in its 111th edition in Bengali.

In a recent interview, the author hopes his book would retain its position for at least five years after his death. "That would be the final test for the book," he says.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why is Gunter Grass so controversial?

Günter Grass is in a very unusual position. It's a position which people would like to take away from him, but can't. You can't take away his company car. You can't deny him a bonus. You can't kick him out of office. He's a self-made man. Now people always say that he should give the Nobel Prize back, since that's the only thing he could do. Or renounce his PEN membership. Grass is a rare example of a fully independent and yet prominent man. And he only has himself to thank for that - he doesn't need to act with regards to others. That's why he provokes controversy.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ray Bradbury quote

"Libraries raised me. I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years... I read everything in the library. I read everything. I took out 10 books a week so I had a couple of hundred books a year I read, on literature, poetry, plays, and I read all the great short stories, hundreds of them. I graduated from the library when I was 28 years old. That library educated me, not the college."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Are dead writers remote from us?

 In a recent study, a team of mathematicians from Dartmouth and Wisconsin says that dead writers have no influence on contemporary fiction. Isabel Kaplan, the novelist, analyses the study and offers her viewpoint.

In the world of contemporary literature, the classics are not suffering from an "anxiety of impotence" (to use the paper's terminology) -- but, when it comes to understanding contemporary literature, perhaps this team of mathematicians is.

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