Lidudumalingani is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. He was born in Zikhovane, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. He is the winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for his short story, Memories We Lost. Lidudumalingani is currently at work on two films, one a documentary and the other an indie feature film. He is working on a novel, titled, at least for now, The Many Ways God Abandons Us.
Fresh off of his win, we tried to pin him down with some questions, some of which he escaped from quite eloquently.
Book Lover’s Hangout: What was the last good book by an African writer you read?
Lidudumalingani: All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu.
BLH: So who do you think is underrated in African fiction and do you have any theories as to why?
L: Collective admiration does not appeal to me and so I cannot answer that question. If an author is important to me, I do not care much that other people are not reading or have never heard of that author.
BLH: What was the last book, try as you might you absolutely could not finish?
L: I am such a slow reader that when I do not finish reading a book I am at fault and not the book. So I won’t say which one it was.
BLH: Are there any books you admire that you wish you’d written?
L: I do have books I cherish but If I had written them, I am convinced of it, they would not have turned out as good as they are because I do not have half the brain the authors who wrote them have.
BLH: If you could, in a magical universe parallel to ours where copyright doesn’t exist, what books would you choose to try and rewrite?
L: Hahaha, no book at all, largely because I fear that I would ruin a book I love. Perhaps not rewrite but maybe I could use the book as a point of departure to create something else like a film or even something as simple as a scene. I have always had an interest in making a short film from The Black Insider by Dambudzo Marechera and one day I intend on doing it.
BLH: Are there any books being released this year that you’re really looking forward to?
L: Teju Cole’s book of essays Known and Strange Things, Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer, Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday (ed: which is out already),by Siddhartha Mukherjee, Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa.
BLH: You’ve been selected for a special space mission, a one way trip to the moon. You can only take 5 books with you. What do you take?
L: This is an unfair question and one that, the more I am asked, will expose me as a liar. If you were to ask me the same question again, tomorrow, next week, my answer would be different, because my life has not been terribly altered by books but I have a long list of books I have read over and over again. Asking a reader to choose between books is like asking a mother to choose between her children, even with books, inanimate as they are, I am convinced that this will terrify them and they are going to hate me when they hear of the betrayal
Let us make it 6, I beg.
- Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
- Indlala Inamanyala by M. Lamati
- Everyday Is For The Thief by Teju Cole
- House of Bondage by Ernest Cole
- Maru by Bessie Head
- Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin