Quick Questions with Brannavan Gnanalingam – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington writer who has published five novels through Lawrence & Gibson. His latest, Sodden Downstream (2017), was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Brannavan Gnanalingam. Photo credit: Lucy Li
Brannavan Gnanalingam. Photo credit: Lucy Li

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with Christchurch friends, seeing some amazing writers, and hopefully spinning some yarns

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are the reason why I’m a writer. My Mum would take me to the various Hutt Libraries when I was a child and sit there and wait while I read books (I hadn’t fully appreciated I could take books home). They are so so crucial. They’re also a great way for people to read my books, hint hint.

What would be your desert island book?

Can I cheat and say Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine. They’re mostly all interrelated so I feel like it’s an ok bending of the rules. I’m halfway there and I love them but I’d love to have the time to read the remaining 50 books.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I was once robbed by a gang of old ladies in Kazakhstan. They also robbed my friend Gareth, but he was trying to hold onto his money, which he did… until one bit him and drew blood so he let go. We lost about $20 all up.

Brannavan Gnanalingam’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Motherhood Saturday 1 September 11.30am SOLD OUT

The politics of fiction Saturday 1 September 4pm

Explosive Archaeology Sunday 2 September 10am

Brannavan Gnanalingam: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Brannavan Gnanalingam – writer

What (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I’m most looking forward to seeing a bit of Christchurch. It’s a city I’m sorry to say, I haven’t spent much time in, but many of my favourite Kiwi musicians, writers, and artists have come from it. That and being able to see all of the writers.

What do you think about libraries?

My life would have been completely different if it wasn’t for my local library. I pillaged (though always returned my books on time) the Hutt City Library growing up. Mum would take me whenever I asked (which was usually weekly) and would wait patiently while I took my time. I wouldn’t be such a voracious reader, and therefore a writer, without the existence of libraries (and Mum’s patience). Libraries are crucial in modern societies, in ensuring literature doesn’t become, once again, the sole domain of those who can afford it.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

The first thing I ever published was an acrostic poem about Richard Hadlee at the age of six in one of the Sunday newspapers. I assigned an adjective to each letter making up Hadlee’s name. In hindsight, it was probably an elegy as he had just retired. I suppose it’s a start?