Hanif 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.
In 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.