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May 26, 2016

Quick 3 with Author Eka Kurniawan

Text by Zaral Shah

We talk to the young Indonesian author, longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for his novel Man Tiger

Beauty Is A Wound
Eka Kurniawan
Speaking Tiger Books
Inspired by an incident he heard of while he was a university student, Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is a Wound faces the realities of the world with satire and humour. We talk to the young Indonesian author who has been longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for his novel Man Tiger.

How have your background and lineage shaped you as a writer?
“I was born in a village, about two hours from the city of Tasikmalaya and knew nothing about books in my childhood, but I was surrounded by some great storytellers. My maternal grandmother and uncles used to tell me fantastic stories and there is an old woman too who wandered the village, sharing her own dream-like tales. When I started getting familiar with books and literature, I would always remember those stories from my childhood.”

What was your first reaction on learning that you have been longlisted for the prize?
“I was taking my daughter to kindergarten when my friend texted me about it. I thought it was a joke and didn’t think about it any more. Later, when I saw several missed calls and more text messages on my phone, I tried to find out more about the prize. I hadn’t really expected to see my name and
book on the list, and so it really surprised me.”

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
“Read more books and those from far away lands, from different cultures and generations. It will prove to be healthy for the breeding of ideas and imaginations.”

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