Friday, February 19, 2016

David Mitchell and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation

19 February 2016

On Thursday I was at the Royal Festival Hall to see two of my favourite contemporary British novelists, David Mitchell and Kazuo Ishiguro, in conversation with each other. It was a fascinating event – a free-flowing discussion without a chair that was completely compelling. Both authors clearly knew each other's novels extremely well and they quizzed each other about technique, genre, plot and much more. Short film clips were used as a prompt to move the conversation on but I suspect they could have carried on their conversation all night without these. In my review here of David Mitchell's latest novel 'Slade House' (in November 2015) I noted the similarities to Kazuo Ishiguro's evocation of dreaming, 'The Unconsoled', so it was wonderful to hear the authors themselves discussing the links between their works. The two writers were a great double act – Kazuo Ishiguro's serious, taciturn delivery contrasting with David Mitchell's smiling enthusiasm. It was refreshing to see a literary event that was not about blatantly plugging their latest novels. And it was great to see a huge audience (of more than 1,000 people I think) for a fairly cerebral literary discussion.



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