Do you expect readers to buy the book out of a sense of duty?
It’s not at all a charitable duty to buy this book, I didn’t want it to be. The storytellers in the book reveal the marvelous possibilities of the written word. Their tales are for us to enjoy and whilst reading them support the millions among us in southern Africa who already have HIV/AIDS or are vulnerable to contracting it. The number of children born with HIV here is heading even while I speak towards one child in every five.
With 13 novels and nine short-story collections behind you, you’ve had a long and distinguished literary career. How do you want to be remembered?
The best that is within me, anything worthwhile in me, is in the books. I’m talking about the insights, the effort to understand life and to transpose it. To me, writing, from the very beginning and right until this day, is a voyage of discovery. Of the mystery of life. I believe there is only this life. But this life is so incredible. Something that interests me very much [that] I’m beginning now to see it in my own books which are written from many different points of view: first person as a man, a child, a woman, a young person, an older person more and more [is that] there is the sense that I am really writing one book all my life.
The book consists of work by Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Susan Sontag, Hanif Kureishi, Woody Allen, Arthur Miller, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Amos Oz, and Chinua Achebe, among others.