Rachel Zadok asked me to do this —
Short Story Day Africa 2013
We’ve compiled twenty-one questions our followers want to know about writers in Africa. Please post your answers on your blog before 21 June 2013, in celebration of Short Story Day Africa, then forward the questions to another writer.
The Gorilla’s response is as follows:
- Do you actually enjoy writing, or do you write because you like the finished product? Yes. I also like the finished product. When a short story has gone well, it’s a masturbatory experience reading through it and silently moaning over all the killer and neat edits you’ve made, the fine sentences you came up with and seeing the story idea is now real.
- What are you reading right now? And are you enjoying it? (No cheating and saying something that makes you sound like the intelligensia). Reading ‘Attacking Chess’ by Mihail Marin and Granta 117 (the horror issue). Marin’s book is a bitch to get through. Difficult and complex but full of beautiful variations. The Granta 117 I got free from the Granta Workshop. I deliberately poached it from another writer, largely because it has DeLillo’s ‘Starveling’ in it. Have read that story before but still I wanted the Granta 117 because of it.
- Have you ever killed off a character and regretted it? Not yet.
- If you could have any of your characters over for dinner, which would it be and why? Aeron. She reads Dambudzo, is pretty hot without her costume and I can fuck her afterwards.
- Which one of your characters would you never invite into your home and why? I like them all. They can come home anytime they want. But some of them should call me first.
- Ernest Hemingway said: write drunk, edit sober. For or against? I don’t drink. Write sober, edit sober.
- If against, are you for any other mind altering drug? No. I can hallucinate pretty well without the drugs.
- Our adult competition theme if Feast, Famine and Potluck. Have you ever put food in your fiction? If so, what part did it play in the story? Yes. In ‘Bass Weejuns on Tiptoes’. The story explores a Post Election Violence landscape in Kenya after the 2007/2008 blowout. So food is scarce and the food in the story plays the role of…well much wanted and tasty food. Even the mouldy bread is tasty.
- What’s the most annoying question anyone’s ever asked you in an interview? Have only been interviewed once before. So this has yet to happen.
- If you could be any author other than yourself, who would you be? Don DeLillo, of course.
- If you could go back in time and erase one thing you had written from your writing history, what would it be and why? Nothing.
- What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told? That I can play chess at Elo 2600.
- If someone reviews you badly, do you write them into your next book/story and kill them? No, I would prefer to kill them in real life.
- What’s your favourite bad reviewer revenge fantasy? Torturing the reviewer with screwdrivers of all sizes, a sharp knife and a hammer and then watching him/her/it die a slow and mafucking painful death.
- What’s the most frustrating thing about being a writer in Africa? Nowhere to find a place to publish my stories. Fiction writing is not valued in countries like Kenya so you have to live with a soul and talent destroying office job. Watching far less talented writers make it and then show off in the newspapers, in social media and at literary functions and parties. You have to look on and feel useless. Welcome to Africa.
- Have you ever written naked? Yes.
- Does writing sex scenes make you blush? I like writing sex scenes. Some of them end up making me horny. I don’t know if I am blushing when this happens.
- Who would play you in the film of your life? I would play me.
- If you won the Caine Prize for African Fiction, what would you do with the money? Buy land.
- What do you consider your best piece of work to date? Everything I have written so far is shit.
- What are you doing on 21 June 2013, to celebrate Short Story Day Africa? Hanging out in Nairobi with a bunch of young and promising ‘African’ writers.