Saturday 17 August 5:00pm BST
The Future of the Novel
With: China Miéville, Hari Kunzru & Sema Kaygusuz (left)
Chair: Susie Nicklin
The Novel: Tenacious as a cockroach? A year ago, the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference kicked off with five events recalling the seminal Writers’ Conference of 1962. Since then, authors have been discussing the vital role the novel plays in cultural life, at events in 14 locations around the globe. What can we learn from the discussions? China Miéville, Hari Kunzru and Sema Kaygusuz talk about the future of fiction.
China Miéville‘s first novel was King Rat (1998), a dark fantasy relocating the Pied Piper to contemporary London. His second, Perdido Street Station (2000), is the first set in the city of New Crobuzon, and won the 2001 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction and a 2001 British Fantasy Award. Two further books in this series are the British Fantasy award-winning The Scar (2002) and Iron Council, winner of a further Arthur C. Clarke Award. His other books include the young adult novel, Un Lun Dun (2007), and a collection of short stories, Looking for Jake (2005). The City & The City (2009) is an existential thriller, winner of a further Arthur C. Clarke Award, Hugo Prize and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. His non-fiction includes a study of international law. China Miéville is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Warwick University and an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck College School of Law.
Hari Kunzru was named The Observer Young Travel Writer of the Year, and in 2004 he became a member of the Executive Council of English PEN. He is on the editorial board of Mute, the culture and technology magazine. He has had short stories published in various magazines, and his first novel, The Impressionist (2002), won the 2002 Betty Trask Prize and the 2003 Somerset Maugham award and was also shortlisted for several awards, including the 2002 Whitbread First Novel Award. His second novel, Transmission (2004), centres on Arjun Mehta, a computer programmer, who lands a new job in America’s Silicon Valley, only to find things do not turn out as he imagines. This won him the inaugural ‘decibel’ award at the British Book Awards and was named a New York Times notable book of the year. In 2005 he published Noise, a short story collection, and his third novel, My Revolutions, in 2007. In 2003, Hari Kunzru was named by Granta magazine as one of twenty ‘Best of Young British Novelists’.
Sema Kaygusuz is a fiction writer living in Istanbul. Sema Kaygusuz was born in 1972 in Samsun. Due to her father’s itinerant military career, she lived in various regions across Turkey. Kaygusuz spent most of her childhood in rural areas and small cities, where she had the opportunity to be closely acquainted with the complexity and cultural diversity of her country. A wide range of folk tales, legends and stories, which the author excavated from various dialects and languages during her travels, remain to be her greatest sources of inspiration. In 1994, Kaygusuz moved to Istanbul, where she still resides. After publishing three collections of short stories, which won some of the most prestigious literary awards in Turkey, her first novel Yere Düsen Dualar (Prayers Falling on Earth) was published in 2006. The novel met with unanimous acclaim from both the Turkish and the international reviewers and won the 2009 Ecrimed-Cultura translation award, the 2010 France-Turquie award in France, and the 2010 Balkanika award including six Balkan countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Turkey). Her second novel, Yüzünde Bir Yer (A Place on Your Face), was published in 2009 and praised as the “literary Guernica”. Yüzünde Bir Yer will be published in April 2013 by Actes Sud in France. Her most recent narration, Karaduygun (Melancholic), was published in 2012 and will be published in March 2013 by Matthes & Seitz in Germany. Sema Kaygusuz is also the co-author of the movie script of Pandora’s Box, which won in 2008 The Golden Shell Best Film Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. (Image credit: Muhsin Akgun)