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'Writing is an art but it is also a business.'

24 January 2014

'You have to inhabit an idea yourself; writing a book or film takes a long time, so you really have to feel like it is life or death for you. I just wanted a situation where I could then think about women and writing and sex and race - all the things I've been thinking about my whole life. This setup is an excuse to write the book I needed to write, because you can explore certain things: what do these characters think about marriage and relationships? (which means you spend months and years thinking, 'what do I think about marriage and relationships?') A story is an excuse to think about something...

Writing is an art but it is also a business. I'm trying to be an artist but I've also got to send my kids to school. The writing schools often teach about just being an artist, but that's not the half of it; that conversation about being a brand is what it happening, that's what it has become...
As an artist, all you try and do is erase all the effort that it took to do it; all you want at the end is this one line. I'm interested in love, race, sexuality, ageing - the most important things - but I also want to reach an audience and give people a good time. I mean, we're in show business. I wanted this to be - as with Le Week-end - entertaining for the public, not just therapy for me.'

Hanif Kureishi, author of The Buddha of Suburbia and The Last Word in the Bookseller