Hanif Kureishi on…


On Writing & Being a Writer

‘The rest was a depressing cold abstinence and mourning, sitting at his desk half the day, every day, repeatedly summoning a half-remembered discipline, wishing someone would lash him to the chair.’  (‘That Was Then’)


‘Yet their spavined stories stumbled into an abyss, never leaping the electric distance between people.’  (‘Sucking Stones’)


‘”It’s you,’ said one, staring.  ‘We’re doing you.  You’re on the syllabus.”

                “I hope I’m not causing you too much discomfort,” I replied.

                “We wondered if you might tell us what you were trying to do with—“

                “I wish I could remember,” I said.  “Sorry.”

                “We heard you were sour and cynical,” murmured another, adding, “and you don’t look anything like the picture on the back of your books.”’   (‘The Body’)


‘One time, I saw one of the group lying under a tree reading my last play, which was produced five years ago.  As I walked past her, I said, “Any good?”

                “The play’s not as good as the film.”’   (‘The Body’)


‘Some artists, in their later life, become so much themselves, they go their own way, that they are no longer open to influence, to being changed or even touched by anyone else, and their work takes on the nature of obsession.’  (‘The Body’)


‘An older writer whose advice I sought sometimes had said to me, “It’s nothing to write one good or successful piece.  Unless you choose to die young, you have to repeat it your whole life.  Good luck.”’    (‘Phillip’)


All citations are taken from Collected Stories, Hanif Kureishi (Faber and Faber, 2010).

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