Happy Birthday, Thando Mgqolozana, born 27 August 1983
- I feel that I’m there to perform for an audience that does not treat me as a literary talent, but as an anthropological subject – as though those people are here to confirm their suspicions that somehow I am inferior to them.
- A book you read when you were a child will read differently when you pick it up later.
- [What is your writing routine?] Three things: it has to be done in solitude or not done at all. Second, I don’t need an idea before I seat myself in front of a computer—though having one helps. Notions just reveal themselves as I write, plus I already have life to turn to. And third, for me filling up the page with words the first time is typing, the writing follows in the process of reading the first draft.
- When the book is new and everybody’s reading it, I often re-read to find out what the excitement is all about. I don’t want to miss out, you see. But this euphoria doesn’t last. After a few months I will have discovered so much that could have been done differently, better, the sight of it becomes a reminder that the novel is the poorer version of what I had in mind.
- The physical book is here to stay.
- We come from a history where black writers were banned and the stories that would most resonate with a black audience were suppressed. There have never been as many black writers as we have now, there has never been as much diversity in terms of voices and stories.
- I’ve said a few times already that the only time I will feel at home in the SA literary space is when my publisher, editor, proofreader, graphic designer, layout person, printer, publicist, distributor, bookseller and most readers are black – reading my work in their preferred languages. But I’m not going to wake up tomorrow to a decolonised country, am I? So I have two choices: to write – because I can’t not write – and never publish, or to write and publish but stand my ground where I can.
- I remain proud of all my previous work, but my favourite is always the one I’m writing, which I won’t talk about just yet.
Thando Mgqolozana is a South African author. His books include Hear Me Alone, A Man Who Is Not a Man, and Unimportance.