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Finuala Dowling

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

What I hate about interviews

…speaking of Kalk Bay Books, here’s a piece I wrote to help Ann Donald launch her great website:


First, I must say that I’ve had some wonderful interviews – with John Maytham, Michelle McGrane, Victor Dlamini, Leon de Kock, Sue Seger, among others. But like most writers, I’ve also on occasion been ‘interviewed’ by charlatans and sadists.

Foremost among these are the rookie reporters who haven’t read anything I’ve written. They cunningly begin by asking me to summarise my latest novel. Since my novels are not known for their tight, page-turning plots, the interviewer soon glances across the room to see if the cappuccino is coming.

I’m a stylist. My books are all about the texture of the sentences themselves, the love of language, the conversation with the reader.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    April 7th, 2008 @05:10 #

    From the reviewer/interviewer's side I'm reminded of Margaret Atwood's comment: "Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté."

    I've dreaded meeting an author because I loathed his book and totally did not want to talk to him. Then was knocked off my chair at how very nice he was, how much sense he spoke, the total absence of egotism.

    I adored a book, met the author, and found her pompous, belittling and undermining.

    I say keep the duck away from the paté. It always get messy when you conflate the two.


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