This post was written by Friday guest blogger Emma Garman.
Last weekend’s Financial Times had an interview with Hari Kunzru (unfortunately behind paid subscription, but click if you want to see an author pic that’s a masterpiece of studied kewl), author of The Impressionist (for which he got a record 1.25 million pounds sterling, about $2.5 million) and more recently Transmission, a novel about an Indian computer programmer who destablizes world order with a computer virus after getting fired from his Silicon Valley job. Kunzru reveals that he wrote two unpublished novels before The Impressionist, and that when he got his mega-advance:
Initially, with my friends, there was a certain amount of jealousy. There was a general holding of breath as they waited to see if I was going to go all Puff Daddy. I had to be quite strict with my arseholery. But I think, now, it has actually been good in a straightforward way. It has given me a place to live and a chance to write. The books have been critically well-received and when I meet journalists, by and large, we are talking about the work rather than the publishing story.
On refusing the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize because it is sponsored by the Daily Mail, whose editorial stance on race and asylum he finds offensive:
I would have felt a hypocrite had I had to shake the hand of the editor of the Mail of Sunday and be part of the presentation of itself as a decent newspaper when in fact its values are vicious and unpleasant. And the Mail’s behaviour after the whole thing has made me feel even more justified. One of these days there’ll probably be a picture of me with a spliff in my hand or something. They are trying to work out what would undermine me most. And they seemed to have settled for describing me as a public schoolboy.
The next book, apparently, is about a man who gets involved with 60s radicalism:
He disengages himself in quite a messy way and 30 years later he finds himself living a straight suburban life. It will explore what happens when you cross that line into violence and make certain decisions in your early twenties that you have to abide by as someone older and more pragmatic.
Here’s a profile of Kunzru’s already-legendary thirty-something agent, Jonny Geller.