Writers' rooms: Hanif Kureishi Guardian has compiled an interesting list of writers and their rooms here. Here’s a detailed account of Kureishi’s room:

“The garden gnome with his bottom showing on the desk was given to me by my son. I’ve got three sons – 13-year-old twins and an eight year old – and almost all the objects you see on the shelves are to do with them: they are of no intrinsic value but they remind me in some way of my boys.

The photographs are also mainly of my kids. And above the desk there’s a very sexy picture of Kate Moss. I think every writer needs a picture of Kate Moss in their room as an inspiration. Kate is from South London like me, and, indeed, like my girlfriend, also a Croydon girl.

I’ve got thousands of CDs because I always listen to music when I’m writing. I’ve done it since I was a teenager, when I first started writing in my bedroom in Bromley. Silence makes me feel rather uncomfortable, nervous.

The flock wallpaper was in the house when I got here, I’ve kept it, and indeed fought to keep it, because it is like being in an Indian restaurant, and I always wanted to spend all of my life in an Indian restaurant.

The picture at the bottom of the wall of the girl sitting down is a drawing of my mother, done by a friend of hers in 1943. Next to that, on the right, is a portait of my father by my mother drawn in 1954, the year I was born. Above that is my Oscar nomination for My Beautiful Laundrette.

I don’t read very much. I don’t have time, but I certainly accumulate books and they are sort of piled up everywhere. I hate to throw books away.

I usually work in the morning, I try to start around seven and work until around midday and then I do other things. I’ve got several typewriters but you can’t get the ribbons. Computers are a mercy for writers, but they do encourage books that are too long. I write by hand first and then type it up. Writing with a fountain pen is a real pleasure and many writers are pen queens – you’d be surprised at how some of the toughest guys can’t wait to tell you about their new Mont Blanc.”
Courtesy Guardian

7 Responses to Hanif Kureishi on the room where he writes

  1. IMeMy says:

    “I don’t read very much.” That is rather surprising and a tad bit disappointing too!
    “I don’t have time,” …that’s not an excuse I’d allow myself if I were you given that you are a literary icon!

    “but I certainly accumulate books and they are sort of piled up everywhere” …and why would you do that if you “don’t read very much”! There is an inherent flaw in that argument; it’s either modesty on your part about your reading habits or else you’ve just blown the myth that teachers like me hold as gospel truth that reading makes you a better writer.

  2. IMeMy says:

    …on a different note, is it possible for me to resubmit a poem to the Pak Tea House titled “Lal Masjid Appeals” (http://iditis.blogspot.com/2007/07/lal-masjid-appeals.html)?
    I wrote this a year ago after the tragic standoff that took place there, and it saddened me to read about a repeat incident of violence that took place at the Masjid this morning!

  3. RR says:

    please by all means send us a poem – it would be excellent

  4. Imad says:

    I’d love to work 7-12 and then do other things. I really envy his ability to sit down and write, and write stories. Didn’t know he was a Croydon boy. I used to be a Sutton boy. (Next to Croydon, also South London.)

  5. Sidhusaaheb says:

    Aah…So one has to have a well-appointed room in order to be a writer. If I were to become a famous writer and then have to describe my room to the general public, I wonder if their reactions would be somewhat similar to my mother’s and if they would be as horrified as she often is, when she walks into my room! 😀

    BTW, I find it difficult to even sign my name, these days, leave alone write a lengthy piece using a pen, so used have I become to writing through a computer’s keyboard. 😛

  6. Irfan says:

    It seem to me he is just being modest about his reading habits.

    In the current age of information overload, when information production rates are soaring rapidly, it is very hard to keep up with this pace.
    Thus the books keep piling up, the journals keep gathering dust on their covers, and the computer desktop starts to look as bad as mine. (I have actually made folders for every month, and inside every month’s folder is those unread documents, articles, research reports, business plans, I collected in that specific month.)

    According to a study of a team at University of California, Berkeley, in 2003, the information produced/recorded between 2000-2003 had doubled. Imagine that.

    Probably, Hanif considers himself not to be reading as much as he could because he is aware of, and comparing his knowledge to, the vast amount of information being recorded in the present information age.

    The matter of how good the quality of all this information being recorded is a different and, probably, quite a debatable issue though.

  7. Irfan says:

    By the way, I might be wrong with regards to years studied by UC, Berkely. It could have been 1999-2002 instead of 2000-2003. Not really sure…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »