I spoke recently with Malaysian writer Preeta Samarasan, and am posting the conversation up here for you to listen to. In part 1, we chatted about her novel Evening is the Whole Day. Preeta gave some fascinating insights into the process of writing the novel and how it evolved over time, as well as talking about the unpredictable effects of children coming into contact with the adult world, and the things she wanted to say about Malaysian society. She also talked about her influences, from ancient Tamil poetry to books such as Graham Swift’s Waterland and Ian McEwen’s Atonement.
Click below to listen to part one of the interview (loads inside your browser, and lasts 20 minutes).
In part 2, I asked Preeta about her writing career beyond Evening is the Whole Day. She told me about putting the finishing touches on the first draft of her next novel, which is about a man who grew up in a religious cult. She talked about why she chose to write in a style closer to spoken Malaysian English, and what she thinks she can communicate that she wouldn’t be able to in standard English. She also talked about how, although the majority of her readers are outside Malaysia, she tries to write for a Malaysian audience rather than acting as a “tour guide” or interpreter of Malaysian culture for outsiders. And she spoke about the process of getting an agent and a publishing deal, and gave some advice to aspiring writers.
Click below for part 2 (about 10 minutes):
This is the first interview I’ve posted on the site, and I’m planning to do more, so please let me know your thoughts. Did the audio work for you? Would you have preferred a longer, or shorter interview? Do you prefer a written Q&A instead of a conversation? Are there any particular writers you’d like me to interview next? Please leave me a comment, or drop me an email.