Anna Smaill is a New Zealand poet, academic and now Man Booker longlisted novelist. ----more----Her striking debut The Chimes has something of all parts of her career so far. There is music (Smaill trained as a violinist), lyricism (in evoking a world in which words have been replaced by melody), intelligence (in exploring grand narratives about connection, language, fundamentalism, technology, religion) and narrative drive: The Chimes is a love story and a dystopian mystery.
We met just before publication at RIBA. After some chatter about jet lag, we moved on to:
memories of London, where Smaill began The Chimes, before returning home to New Zealand
writing about London as an imaginative place
the soundtracks of London and Tokyo
German techno and Tokyo dancing vs Suede
Smaill pitches The Chimes to Stephen Spielberg (kind of)
the problems and danger of language in The Chimes
memory, communication and extremism
does The Chimes critique contemporary society?
the pros and cons of technology
the joy of reading
linear narrative vs fractured memory
Smaill's career anxieties
The Chimes returning Smail to the joys of childhood reading
from Phd thesis to novel writing
Smaill's musical past - playing the violin
crisis and giving up music
music and identity
music, emotion and the physical
I talk to Anna Smaill about her Man Booker longlist in The Independent: here.