Chigozie Obioma, novelist: 'There is always some elemental power at play in the lives of Thomas Hardy’s characters'

Thursday 29 October 2015 14:39
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Obioma's book 'The Fisherman' was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2015
Obioma's book 'The Fisherman' was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2015

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my new house in Lincoln, Nebraska, and all around are trees, trees, and more trees. Beyond and through the trees a sturdy sky stares whitely, and beyond this face, nothing more to see.

What are you currently reading?

I'm reading The Jewish Wars by the early-century historian, Flavius Josephus. It is a remarkable attempt to portray Jewish history through a secular lens much different than from that contained in the Torah and the Bible. On the side, I'm also reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North, not because it won the Booker, but because when I visited Australia last month, the great critic, Jennifer Byrne, made me promise her I'd read it!

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

Thomas Hardy. In his works, there is always some elemental power at play in the lives of his characters as in real life – even if we mostly fail to acknowledge it.

Describe the room where you usually write

I now write in my sunroom – it is a large, nearly empty room except for a shelf of books, on which is a flower vase. It is a naked room with glasses all around, from which a sea of light fills the room during the day, and impenetrable darkness at night.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Obembe in my novel The Fishermen.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Billy Graham – for a life spent trying to convince people to live right and love their neighbours as themselves.

'The Fishermen' by Chigozie Obioma was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2015

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