Happy Birthday, Marlene van Niekerk, born 10 November 1954
- Read non-fiction. History, biology, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology. Get a bodyguard and do fieldwork. Find your inner fish. Don’t publish too soon. Not before you have read Thomas Mann in any case.
- Learn by copying, sentence by sentence some of the masters. Copy Coetzee’s or Sebald’s sentences and see what happens to your story. Consider creative non-fiction if you want to stay in South Africa. It might be the way to go.
- Never neglect back and hamstring exercises, otherwise you won’t be able to write your novel. One needs one’s buttocks to think.
- So it is a risk, this business of writing. One starts by setting in motion certain forces of which you are not the master - forces of language, forces of the unconscious - and then focus as best you can while you hurtle through space.
- I was hoping to write something that would confound me.
van Niekerk is a South African author who is best known for her novel Triomf.
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