Hanif Kureishi on his love of erotic adventures and his refusal to talk about his own

Alice Jones' Arts Diary at The Independent Bath Literature Festival

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The Independent Culture

Hanif Kureishi is celebrated for the eroticism of his writing, having written some of literature's and cinema's most enduring sex scenes in The Buddha of Suburbia and My Beautiful Laundrette.

“I love the erotic - and I think it is even more beautiful and important the closer you get to death. That feeling of - I'll be blind soon, I won't be able to see this body”, said the author, 59.

Asked to elaborate on his own “erotic adventure” by a member of the audience, the author suffered an uncharacteristic bout of shyness. “I can't talk about myself like that... I just can't. I would have to put words into the mouth of a character. I could write you a novel about it”, he said to the blushing questioner. “And I will do that”.

Kureishi did admit that he has a new girlfriend, who is “really nice” and keeping him “on his best behaviour.”

“Everything's nice. When you get a new girlfriend it really cheers you up for ages”, he said. How long is ages in Kureishi's book? “Five years.” The old romantic.


Emin's bed and Hirst's skull are among the 100 Works of Art That Will Define Our Age, according to Kelly Grovier's glossy new book. What was the 101st? “There were about a thousand at number 101”, admits the art critic. “I wondered about including a Keith Haring or a Gilbert & George but I think they define the 80s more than now.” Grovier's survey starts in 1989 but is not intended to be a list of the 100 best artworks since then. Indeed, not every work in it is great, he said. “It's not called '100 Works of Art You Should Like More Than You Do”.

Going Green

The Green Room at The Independent Bath Literature Festival is finer than most, based in the gilded, opulent Chairman's Office at the city's Guildhall. Accordingly festival speakers are asked to sign the Mayor's visitors book. David Lodge had a pen thrust into his hand two minutes after arriving on the threshold. “Comments?”, he said, bemused. “I don't know yet. I've put, 'I've only just arrived but the vibes are good.'”