Monday, September 03, 2007

Jack Mapanje Interview

Interesting interview in the Guardian with Jack Mapanje, whose book Beasts of Nalunga has been nominated for this year’s Forward Prize.

"The narratives in Beasts of Nalunga are in the form of spirals," he explains. "They start in one place, then go around and come back, but further on. It's the best way of remembering something; an oral technique I learned from my mother when she was telling me stories about hyenas and rabbits. She would string them together, and then link them up and then loop them again, and again ... " His hands trace curves in the air.

These helical structures, these repetitions and elaborations, stood him in good stead for the harsh regime inside Mikuyu prison. Deprived of pens and paper, he began composing poems in his head, a method he still uses to this day.

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