Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Joyce Carol Oates interview

Q:A few months ago, you finished writing A Widow’s Memoir, an account of the death of your first husband, Raymond Smith. Can you comment on the process of writing it?

A:It isn’t a time I remember very clearly now. I had difficulty sleeping and would often write late at night, on sheets of paper folded lengthwise, which can fit neatly into a book which I might be reading, or trying to read. My normal concentration was shattered and so I “took notes” in the hope that some time in the future I could bring these fragmented passages into some sort of coherent whole. The effort seemed enormous at the time—like hauling myself up by hand, pulling on a thick rope.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dzanc's Alternate List of 20 writers to watch

In an obvious response to The New Yorker's list of 20 best ficton writers under 40,
, Dzanc has now published an alternate list of 20. It's a relief to see that the Dzanc at least does not take into consideration a writer's age to make its list, and has a more comprehensive and wider view of fiction publishing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Translating Haruki Murakami

The Danwei has published translating experiences of two Chinese translators of Haruki Murakami.

Just from the title 1Q84 it is obvious that Haruki Murakami is a naughty writer who likes to play word games. He likes putting heterogeneous things together; here it’s numbers and English letters.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Olga Yokarczuk interview

"Literature is always political"
Q: In the past, writers were seen as very powerful members of society, people who were capable of influencing the masses. Has that changed? What is the role of writers in contemporary society?

Olga Tokarczuk: The role of the writer has always been political, in the broadest possible sense of the political. When I say political, I mean a conscious approach to the reality that surrounds us. More often than not, such an approach should involve, in my opinion, the writer finding vantage points that will allow us to see the imperceptible.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The curious case of David Davidar

David Davidar, the publishing don, had quickly quit his job before his company was to fire him on charge of sexual harassment by his subordinate Lisa Rundle. An impressive line of writers, editors and publishers - most of them benificiaries in one way or other of Davidar's grand position in the publishing world -now stand by him. But is he really clean?

The point I’m trying to make here is that I’m not some outsider sitting on a fence and bitching because of some personal grouse. On the contrary. I’m being brutally honest and saying that sure, David had some excellent qualities. But he had some major vices too. And some were unacceptable. He drank way, way too much. He admitted to me that Frankfurt and London Book Fair were basically excuses for him to get drunk and stay sloshed for days on end, alongwith a group of other equally inebriated editors of major international houses who often pitched one another books and bought and sold one another’s pitches, sometimes for million dollar advances. He exulted in the sheer power he wielded and while he was always a thorough Gentleman in the best old-fashioned sense of the word, he also suffered from the classic Gentlemanly vices – a love for the company of other powerful decision-makers with fat chequebooks and money (not their own) to splurge as they pleased, a bottomless expense account, loads of alcohol…and, in David’s case, women. He loved women. He adored them. That was fine in itself, perhaps. But David had a problem: He fell in love with women at the drop of a spoon. He was always either in love with someone or other or had just been in love with one and was now in love with another…it was quite a mess. Everyone who knew David well knew this and while I can’t speak for the women he worked with, at least two other mutual friends that I know of – Dom Moraes and Jeet Thayil – were quite aware of David’s fondness for romance. He loved wooing women with roses and champagne, chocolates and nightgowns, candlelit dinners and long night drives. He lived for it. He was a man of big appetites and his biggest hunger was always for the romance of romance.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ruskin Bond interview

The Statesman has published an interesting interview with Ruskin Bond, the evergreen writer.

Do you think good writing often comes unbidden?
It can because sometimes, quite spontaneously, you might feel the urge to write a poem or an essay or just a personal entry in a journal. You’d call that spontaneous writing. It’s often the best that a writer does. Of course, there’re kinds of writing that require planning and organisation like long novels or biography. As far as poetry goes, even the essay at times, or even occasionally a short story, can be the result of spontaneous urge which is often unplanned.

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