Local authors in lockdown…
Mark Winkler is a South African writer of literary fiction living in Cape Town.
Author Mark Winkler answers some questions:
What are you reading/planning to have read by 16 April?
First of all, I’m going to read my latest novel, Due South of Copenhagen, published kind of on the day lockdown happened (not even those wonderful people at Umuzi are clairvoyant), because then at least one person will have read it in print.
And then, I’ll be going down Nostalgia Road, re-reading stuff on my shelves that I haven’t touched for decades – Bellow, Gordimer, Woolf, Steinbeck, Achebe, Brink, Okri, Maugham, Màrquez and so on and so forth. Because who knows what the world will be like when we enter it in three weeks’ time, or how soon after that we’ll look on today’s literature with nostalgia?
What are you NOT going to read now?
Hillary Mantel, because I don’t feel like trying to work out who “he” refers to for 700-odd pages. Even lockdown is too short for that. And News24, because I can’t spare the razor blades.
Any lockdown recipes you’d like to share?
My dad trained as a chef, which is proof that genetics aren’t everything. The best I can do here is: take one laptop, a cup of coffee that wasn’t made by a barista, get Writing Dog aka Piglet to curl up at your feet, add a bit of Erik Satie, and try to use the time to get something sensible down. Oh, and when I get hungry, cheddar on Pro-Vita with a dash of Tabasco works wonders.
The good thing to come out of all of this…
The understanding that nobody is special. The lesson that the protection of privilege has its limits. And appreciating that the greatest blessings are a healthy family, a roof to keep them dry, a warm bed and the space to stay out of each other’s hair.
Are the current circumstances really so strange given that you are a writer? Don’t you have to lock yourself away in any case to get words on paper?
Sort of. I’ve been “working from home” (or so my wife thinks) for the last six months, but I’ve actually been writing my next book. It’s the first time that I’ve really been able to indulge myself by writing at my desk, on my own, in my own version of silence, for hours on end. Writing my earlier books was all crammed into weekends and public holidays and the hours in the Bidvest lounge waiting for aeroplanes (remember those days?). Of course, I finished the first readable draft of the current effort about a week before lockdown became a thing, so I can put that one in the Good Timing column too…