Hanif Kureishi interview: ‘Every 10 years you become someone else’


Hanif KureishiHanif Kureishi’s muse has long been transgression: dazzling early success was followed by a sex-and-drugs phase, family falling-out and a lacerating novel about marital breakdown. Now, with The Last Word, has he finally pinned down who he really is?: The Guardian

The first time I met Hanif Kureishi it was the mid-80s, and we talked about writing fiction for Faber and Faber whose list I was directing. Kureishi came into my office like a rock star and I remember thinking that he did not seem in need of a career move. He was already riding high on the international success of his screenplay, My Beautiful Laundrette.

The-Last-WordIn fact, Kureishi was cannily pondering his next step. He was on the lookout for a means of self-expression that might sustain a way of life and over which he could have some control. Movies, he said, were chancy, a gold-rush business. There was money in novels and a mood of great expectations as a new generation of writers, especially from the Commonwealth, came through. I had just published Caryl Phillips’s first novel, The Final Passage, and Kureishi expressed a quite competitive desire to outdo his Caribbean rival. Four years later, he completed The Buddha of Suburbia in which, as a sly nod to my role in its gestation, I got a walk-on part – as a policeman.

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