Interview by Nicole Melanson ~
Barbara Adair is a South African novelist and sometime travel-writer. Her first novel, In Tangier We Killed the Blue Parrot (Jacana, 2005), a fictional account of the lives of Paul Bowles and Jane Bowles in Tangier, was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction award. Her second novel, End (Jacana, 2009), is a pastiche based on the movie Casablanca set in Johannesburg and Maputo; it was shortlisted for the African Regional Commonwealth Prize.
Barbara has also published many articles in such publications as: Sunday Independent (South Africa), Sunday Times (South Africa), Weekender (South Africa), Horizon (British Airways), Selamtra (Ethiopian Airways), New Contrast Literary Journal (South Africa), From the Great Wall to the Grand Canyon (US publication), and Sensitive Skin Magazine (NYC).
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AS A WRITER?
I went to a writing workshop with Lionel Abrahams.
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK OR CURRENT PROJECT?
I have two books – one a sort of travel book, experimental, with pictures by an artist, another a novel based on the life of Rimbaud. Both are in waiting for a publisher but these are hard to find these days.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT LIKE?
I work in a city flat with the roar of traffic in Johannesburg, and at a solitary bush retreat where there is only bird sound.
WHEN DO YOU WORK? WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR WRITING LIFE?
I wake up, drink coffee, write and think and smoke.
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
I like it and it is a great way to pass the time. Initially, I just thought I could write; now I know I can.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Experimental writing inspires me. I get my ideas from reading, traveling, and talking.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF BEING A WRITER?
Being so alone. And the lack of inspiring publishers who only want a story that will sell is an obstacle.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION AS A WORD ARTIST OR BOOK INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL?
Personally? To be recognized. On a larger scale: less dumbing down in readers.
WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR MORE FROM OR SEE INTERVIEWED ON WORDMOTHERS NEXT?
Thank you, Barbara Adair!
— Nicole Melanson
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