Kazuo Ishiguro (b. November 8): “Memory is central for me” & other quotes on writing

8 Nov
(c) Peter Edwards; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Kazuo Ishiguro, born 8 November 1954, is a Japanese-born British novelist. He’s one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world. He’s been nominated for the Man Booker Prize four times, and won in 1989 for The Remains of the Day.

Quotes on writing

  1. Memory is quite central for me. Part of it is that I like the actual texture of writing through memory.
  2. As a writer, I’m more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened. 
  3. I started as a songwriter and wanted to be like Leonard Cohen. I’ve always seen my stories as enlarged songs.
  4. I don’t think it’s any fun, even if you are one of the most respected authors in the world like Margaret Atwood, to keep being nominated and not win.
  5. I really have to think of the things fiction can do that film can’t and play to the strengths of the novel. With a novel you can get right inside somebody’s head.
  6. I think I had actually served my apprenticeship as a writer of fiction by writing all those songs. I had already been through phases of autobiographical or experimental stuff. 
  7. Screenplays I didn’t really care about, journalism, travel books, getting my writer friends to write about their dreams or something. I just determined to write the books I had to write.
  8. What is difficult is the promotion, balancing the public side of a writer’s life with the writing. I think that’s something a lot of writers are having to face. Writers have become much more public now. 
  9. I want my words to survive translation. I know when I write a book now I will have to go and spend three days being intensely interrogated by journalists in Denmark or wherever. That fact, I believe, informs the way I write-with those Danish journalists leaning over my shoulder.


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