To look Asian but to speak with a British accent completely threw people. I liked that; it felt as if I was just under the radar. You couldn't place me through accent or class or ethnic things.Peter Ho Davies on living between cultures in an interview with Liz Hoggard in today's Observer. His mother is Malaysian Chinese, his father Welsh, and he grew up in Coventry in the British Midlands. His excellent debut collection of short fiction The Ugliest House in the World won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize and the Macmillan Silver Pen award, and two of the stories were set in Malaysia. (Though Thor wasn't impressed with his factual accuracy, remember?) Now his long-awaited first novel The Welsh Girl is out.
What do I think about linking the Virginia Tech killer to violent fiction? Actually, my reaction might surprise you. You think I'm going to instantly lay down a distinction between real-life psychopaths and those of us who write about them for a living?... But I do actually think there's something rather strange regarding those (like me) who write about such things - or, for that matter, those who want to read about them. After all, to write repeatedly about people dying horrifically is an odd way to make a living... but then I'm in a queasy collusion with my readers. So I'm prepared to spread the blame about a little.Yes, you guys must take some of the blame for Dublin born author John Connolly's warped imagination. Connolly's new novel The Unquiet, is in the bookshops now. Read the whole interview in the Independent.
It seems to me that any kind of creativity, whether it be writing a novel or inventing something, is a slow accretion of knowledge, working through mistakes, failures, of figuring out what is right for you, what doesn't work ... Every single one of my short stories was a way of finding my more natural voice, which I think is the voice of Careless.Deborah Robertson who tells Deborah Hope in the Australian how she made the transition from writer of short stories to first-time novelist. Robertson won the Aus$20,000 Nita B. Kibble prize for women writers against a field of more experienced writers, including Gail Jones. Her novel, Careless, has also been entered for a whole slew of other awards including the Miles Franklin and the Orange.
I think it's like a lot of the creative talents; the talent does have to be there, but it also needs to be cultivated in the right way. Part of this is steely determination, a lot of it is a willingness to hunker down deep inside yourself and listen to the sound of your own, psychic bowel - no matter how unpleasant it may be.Author Will Self talks to Sarah Kinson in the Guardian about why he writes and dispenses some good advice for writers. He is currently working on a novel called The Butt which is an allegory of the way that liberals in the US and Britain responded to the invasion of Iraq.