Friday, August 15, 2008

Ishiguro at School

In an interview at The Paris Review, Kazuo Ishiguro talks about his schooling and how he was encouraged to write :
Yes. I went to the local state primary school where they were experimenting with modern teaching methods. It was the mid-sixties, and my school rather complacently had no defined lessons. You could muck about with manual calculating machines, or you could make a cow out of clay, or you could write stories. This was a favorite activity because it was sociable. You wrote a bit, then you read each other’s things, and you read out loud.
I created a character called Mr. Senior, which was the name of my friend’s scoutmaster. I thought this was a really cool name for a spy. I got into Sherlock Holmes around then in a big way. I’d do a pastiche of a Victorian detective story that began with a client arriving and telling a long story. But a lot of the energy went into decorating our books to look exactly like the paperbacks we saw in the shops—drawing bullet holes on the front and putting quotations from newspapers on the back. “Brilliant, chilling tension.” —Daily Mirror.

Do you think the experience affected you as a writer?

It was good fun, and it made me think of stories as effortless things. I think that stayed with me. I’ve never been intimidated by the idea of having to make up a story. It’s always been a relatively easy thing that people did in a relaxed environment.

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