Happy Birthday, Christopher Hope, born 26 February 1944
- I think poetry is the greatest form possible. But I write novels because they let me say something interesting.
- It is always hard to describe oneself but I guess I am a writer fascinated by those who have power and the way it is perverted.
- I prefer the liberation and release of laughter to the boring repetition of tragedy and melodrama. The buckets of tears over [Alan Paton’s novel] Cry, the Beloved Country never amounted to anything. What people most disliked was having their fatuities exposed; being found ridiculous. One should celebrate irreverence, and pay no respect to power.
- If I had to put into one word what it is that has kept me writing it is my astonishment – at how good human beings are at deceiving themselves.
- Exile is a strange thing. It helps you to focus on the country you left. That is the good thing. But it also means you lose touch with the very things that make you who you are. I don’t believe exile is good for a writer, but sometimes you do not have a choice.
- Writing has always seemed to me to be a rather mischievous occupation. I write not to change the world but to undermine it, since the models on offer seem pretty dull most of the time. Much of life is odd and disorganised.
- As a writer I was lucky enough to grow up in South Africa, a place where the lethal folly of what everyone assured me was “normal” life far outstripped even the most audacious of writers. It made for a wonderful training. It taught me about the sheer inventiveness of life. And it gave me a subject – the triumph of power and the terminal comedy of those who wield it.
Christopher Hope is an award-winning South African novelist and poet. He is the author of 20 books, including Kruger’s Alp, Cape Drives, and My Mother’s Lovers.
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