Thursday, 16 September 2010

writer john boyne

Books are my first love, although they've been sorely neglected this year. At least the literary kind. But one title that did manage to sneak its way in was The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by Irish writer John Boyne. It looked small and so I thought it would be an easy read. In many ways it was. Yet it's a story that's incredibly powerful. It's a testament to a writer when they can make the complex seem simple. Kudos to John Boyne, who has gone from selling books behind the counter to making them fly off the shelf. The book was also turned into an equally moving film.

Which five words best describe you? Loyal; Reader; Focussed; In Love.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since? My first real job was with Waterstone’s booksellers in Ireland, where I worked for seven years before leaving to become a full-time writer.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That a first draft is to a novel as a piece of stone is to a sculpture. You have to chip away at it for a long time to find something worthwhile inside.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My seventh novel The House of Special Purpose. I’d written several books from the perspective of a young character and wrote this one from the point of view of an 82 year-old man. In doing so, I tried to make the language of the book more elegant than before and I felt satisfied with the result.

What’s been your best decision? Leaving my job in 2003 to write full-time even though at the time I could neither afford to do so, nor did my career look particularly promising.

Who inspires you? A writer like Colm Toibin, who never repeats himself – The Master and Brooklyn, for example, are completely different types of stories – but manages to create lasting works of art with every novel.

What are you passionate about? Getting young people to read.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Kate Bush

What dream do you still want to fulfil? For a long time my dream has been to spend an extended period in Australia. However I’ll be doing that in 2011 as I’ll be living in Sydney through January and February.

What are you reading? The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy. I’m enjoying it very much – the characterisations are often very funny but also perceptive; the story itself is highly engaging.

images courtesy of john boyne, random house and mark condren (portrait)


Annie said...

I wanted to pick that book up, now I most definitetly will!

Unknown said...

Have often gone to pick this one up, haven't yet. Looks like I should. I recall they did a movie, haven't seen that either, but saw a few of the movie reviews when it came out.

One for the DVD rainy day maybe.

I'm with you, love love love books. I'm currently reading 'DV' a narrative by Diana Vreeland, past fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar and editor in chief of Vogue. She passed in 1989.


Jane said...

Natalie I 'loved' this book - it was amazing but I could never imagine watching the film, far too harrowing, He is a brilliant writer.

Rebecca said...

Awesome interview! I was also captivated by this little book- simialar to the movie Life is Beautiful- his writing really captured beauty in a seemingly horrible situation.
Thanks Natalie!

Ampersand Design said...

I loved this book so much and the film just as much. Cried reading the book, cried watching the film and even cried watching the making of the film.

Absolutely stunning book.

Sandy K

Natalie Walton said...

Glad you all enjoyed the post. It's been a while since I've profiled a writer and was a little worried that everyone might think I was going off on a tangent. But glad to learn that you enjoyed the interview.

Mariska Meijers said...

The Boy in The Striped Pyamas is one of the best books I have read over the last few years. Boyne has a briljant original mind! Wonderful interview. Thank you!

Treadgold said...

This book is one of those stories that stays with you for weeks afterwards. I cried watching the movie and feel great admiration for the author.
I have just joined a book club for the first time so loving the book post.... just about to read Eat.Pray.Love...

Charlotte said...

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is one of the best books I've read. And i'm pretty sure the story will stay in my mind forever. Great interview!


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