|An interview with Imraan Coovadia|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2007 09:53|
Imraan Coovadia: author of The Wedding and Green-Eyed Thieves.
1. When did you first start writing?
2. What do you love most about writing?
Answering questionnaires. No, I guess, I like the fact that it’s permanent.
3. Tell us a little about when and where you write?
In the mornings, at a desk.
4. Do you edit as you go along, or write it all and then go back?
Edit-write-edit-throw away-edit-write. Weep, laugh, write. Hope.
5. What else do you do? Do you have a day job, and if so how do you juggle writing and work?
I teach at UCT, a lovely place, and I have a lovely office where I don’t write.
6. How does writing a second novel differ from writing a first? Do you feel pressure to put in elements you know critics liked, and leave out things they criticized?
It was so long between them. 1994 when I finished the first one, and 2003, 10 years later, when I started the second (published one anyway). I can’t say criticism has ever really helped me. Some of it is nice though.
7. Do you feel differently about the blank page now that you’ve been nominated for awards?
I like blank pages now. They’re untouched, serene, and my computer has an infinite supply.
8. Was there a seed or an obsession that got you started writing The Wedding and Green Eyed Thieves?
I wanted to write something. There are all sorts of primers, and germs, and seeds. But basically the desire to write a novel.
9. Do you find recurring themes in your work?
10. Where do you get inspiration from?
11. Does place influence your writing? Do you see yourself as a very Durban / Cape Town writer?
I feel pretty much like a New Yorker still. Starting to be more Capetonian, but I’m most interested in the almost entirely unexplored field of Durban. A city without self-consciousness…
12. Which (if any) author first inspired you to start writing?
Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, J.M. Coetzee.
13. What was the first thing you wrote that you were proud of?
A short story I published a year ago in Threepenny Review, “Composition VIII.” Pretty much the only, only thing I’m proud of.
14. What do you read now?
I read a lot of books to review. Otherwise history, philosophy, dumbed down physics. Just read Azar Gat’s great War in Human Civilization.
15. If you could switch professions without any repercussions, what would you want to be?
An investment banker.
16. What surprised you most about writing Green Eyed Thieves?
Can’t remember anymore. Oh, that I knew so much about crime although I come from a law abiding family (except speed limits).
17. Do you have a favourite character?
Lear, Hamlet, Pip, Pickwick, Falstaff, Barnadine (from Measure for Measure, who refuses to be executed because he’s too drunk…but I get this from Harold Bloom).
18. Any advice for young aspiring authors?
Find something else to do. Wittgenstein was always happy when his students didn’t become philosophers and went to work in factories or the like instead. Not that I’m like Wittgenstein but I admire the professional self-hatred.
19. What’s the one question you haven’t been asked in an interview, that you wish you had?
This very question.
20. What is the meaning of life, according to Imraan Coovadia?
It seems to be mostly waiting.
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