Podcast: Kazuo Ishiguro and Michael Ondaatje in conversation

In July 2018, we celebrated 50 years of the Booker Prize with Man Booker 50, a weekend-long festival featuring a host of top novelists and former prize winners, discussing their works and the literary process.

One of a number of special 'in conversation' events from that weekend was this one, which featured writers Kazuo Ishiguro and Michael Ondaatje on stage together, for the first time ever. In an unchaired discussion, the pair talked about their creative processes, their inspirations growing up, and how that went on to shape their fiction. Ishiguro and Ondaatje also drew on the wide range of other influences that have informed their respective work, especially cinema and music, as they divided their conversation into three distinct sections; ‘Envy of the Other Arts’, ‘Boyhood Thrillers’ and ‘Notebooks’.

Kazuo Ishiguro & Michael Ondaatje by Southbank Centre: Think Aloud


There came a point where I started to ask, if the dreaming mind was a novelist, what would be the traits and innovations that this author used? And the only place I could go to research that was to write down what I could remember, the fragments of dreams.
Kazuo Ishiguro on researching dreams and dreaming

Kazuo Ishiguro, was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, but moved to Britain at the age of five. He won the Booker Prize in 1989 for Remains of the Day, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017.

Although best known as a novelist, Michael Ondaatje’s work also encompasses poetry, memoir, and film. Born in Sri Lanka, but a resident of Canada since the early 1960s. He won the Man Booker Prize in 1992 for The English Patient, and, at Man Booker 50, was awarded the Golden Man Booker for the same novel, as the best work of fiction to have won the prize across its 50 year history.



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