Photo by Victor Geere (Creative Commons)

Digging through the (sadly pretty limited) online archives of the excellent Virginia Quarterly Review recently, I came across this interview with South African author (and Nobel Prize winner) Nadine Gordimer.

Here are a few highlights:

“We’ve got to examine truth. To me, writing, from the very beginning and right until this day, is a voyage of discovery. Of the mystery of life. I am one of those people who have no religious faith, I am an atheist. I believe there is only this life. But this life is so incredible.”

“There is more truth in my fiction than in nonfiction. I think, subconsciously, [if] I am writing an article or talking to you, there is a certain amount of self-censorship going on. But in my fiction I am writing as if I were dead. I want to say it all. I want to say everything I know.”

To me, writing, from the very beginning and right until this day, is a voyage of discovery.

“Writers don’t only listen, they also look. Though, indeed, they do listen. I started being an eavesdropper when I was a child, picking up unexplained little bits of conversation and imagining what led to that, what drama in that couple’s life, or what happened between that child and the parent when I overheard: “Stop that! You’re being very naughty.” You know, what does it all mean?”

Read the whole interview here.

I am a bit of a South Africa-phile – if you are too (or think you could become one!), check out my South Africa Reading Guide for some great literature, Gordimer included.

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