10 Bookish Questions for the Great Nuruddin Farah
The Perennial Nobel Prize Short-Lister Talks About the Books in His Life
Nuruddin Farah’s latest novel, North of Dawn, is available now from Riverhead.
Who do you most wish would read your book?
I would love readers not familiar with my other novels to read it, so the novel gains more readers.
What do you always want to talk about in interviews but never get to?
I’ve given far too many interviews, and therefore I am likely to worry about repetitions.
What time of day do you write (and why)?
The ideal writing time is from about nine in the morning until four in the afternoon; when I am too knackered.
How do you tackle writers block?
I’ve never suffered from a writer’s block, maybe because I revise my texts enough times and do not give up until I get it right.
Which book(s) do you return to again and again?
I keep reading and rereading Voss by Patrick White, when I can’t think or do not have a new book to read.
Which non-literary piece of culture—film, tv show, painting, song—could you not imagine your life without?
I am partial to the collected poems of my favorite poets and cannot imagine a life without them: Derek Walcott, Eugenio Montale (in the original), Ingeborg Bachmann, Rilke. . .
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Write, rewrite and revise.
What was the first book you fell in love with?
[As a young boy] I fell in love with Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia, because of its sophisticated plot.
Name a classic you feel guilty about never having read?
Alessandro Manzoni’s Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed)—because I couldn’t get past the first page.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I can think of so many novels I wish I had written. . . so there is no point listing them.