Kazuo Ishiguro and Michael Ondaatje in conversation

For the first time ever, Kazuo Ishiguro and Michael Ondaatje appeared together on stage in an unchaired conversation about their creative processes, their inspirations growing up and how that shaped their fiction.

Drawing on the wide range of influences that have informed their work, especially cinema and music, Ishiguro and Ondaatje’s discussion was divided into three sections – ‘Envy of the Other Arts’, ‘Boyhood Thrillers’ and ‘Notebooks’.

The pair were appearing together at Southbank Centre as part of Man Booker 50, our weekend-long festival celebrating 50 years of the Man Booker Prize, which featured a host of top novelists discussing their works and the literary process.

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 characteristic, stylistic traits and innovations that this author used, and so 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.


Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK. See what’s coming up this month in our literature and poetry programme.

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