THE WRITE STUFF
Winner of the inaugural Saga Prize with his ﬁrst novel Some Kind Of Black, Diran Adebayo is also the ﬁrst man to be published by Virago. Marc Lambert checks him out.
m Diran Adebayo.
Previous job: l‘ve been a news reporter for The Voice and worked for the BBC and LWT as a systems producer.
Route to becoming a writer I began writing at the age of eight. My parents were very educationally minded and ﬁlled the house with books. 1 used to write accounts of cricket tours set in the 19903 and did plays at school. that kind of thing. 1 did law at college but always wanted to be a writer which I've been full-time now for a year. I worked on the novel at night while working during the day and then entered it for the prize.
Dally routine 1 get up around ten-thirty and until lunch it‘s real think time. 1 make notes and a lot of ideas come then. Post-lunch 1 work on the text and later on 1’11 return to it or else make more notes.
Inﬂuences Very catholic really. 1 try to get good stuff from wherever it comes. I liked Beckett when l was younger and the whole existentialist thing. The theme of 20th century alienation obviously speaks a lot to immigrants. Langston Hughes is also important, especially his book of short stories The Way Of White Folks, and music is a great inﬂuence as 1 try to have a lyrical feel to my prose and pay a lot of attention to internal rhythm. Rhythm is the thing.
Ambitions 1 want to contribute to contemporary debate around all sorts of issues. At the moment there’s a feeling that politicians have failed us in terms of black leadership. but this is a time when black culture is coming more to the fore so 1 want to be in on the start of a tradition of black writing in Britain and to help shape it.
Peers Reptiles of all descriptions. American materialism running the whole world ﬁom Nigeria to India — the world is getting smaller but on somebody else‘s terms.
been l’m always a few months away from crisis but 1 always have enough to get by. Obviously the prize has helped and 1 got a ﬁlm Option on the book as well.
Some Kind Of Black by Diran Adebayo is published by Virago on Jane 13 at £9.99. To enter the Saga Prize. send for an sae to The Saga Prize. do 63 Belst'ze Avenue. London NW3 4BR
1331113_ HANGING ABOUT
I A Perfect Execution Tim Binding (Picador £15.99) it isn‘t easy to hang a man. as Jeremiah Bembo will tell you. Market gardener by day. he is also Solomon Straw. Britain’s number one state executioner, renowned for his attention to detail.
As Bembo recounts his 40s childhood as a Punch and Judy man with his more assertive cousin Will; the war accident which makes him a hangman. and into the 60s. a well-drawn but depressing
cast of little Englandcrs is assembled. Most are dominated by the inability to conceive of sex without furtivc innuendo or shame. and lead lives of suffocating desperation. One is a murderer. Bembo’s fear that he has hanged the wrong man. and the birth of his child. ﬁnally return him to the uncertain redemption of human contact.
Binding‘s second novel is impressive in parts. ifoccasionally ﬂat and contrived. By Solomon Straw‘s standards. a not quite perfect execution. (Marc Lambert)
I The Picador Book or Sportsmtting Edited by Nick Coleman and Nick Homby (Picador £16.99) ls sport the new rock ’n‘ roll? The idea that writers of the literary stature of Norman Mailer. Donna Tartt and Martin Amis could nestle within the covers beside Hugh Mcllvanney, Frank Keating and John Arlott would have been inconceivable a decade or so ago. Not now.
Weighing heavily towards football. baseball, boxing and cricket. this book splits into sections on memory. epiphany. the joys and pains of participation. fan pathology and. perhaps obscurely. Muhammed Ali. With such a rich collection to plough through, choosing favourites is a mineﬁeld. but outstanding chapters are
Giles Smith's on football programmes. Tom Callahan‘s on Mike Tyson and Thomas Hauser’s moving tribute to the butterfly/bee persona of Ali.
This may appear the last thing in the world that the ‘too rnrrch sport on telly' brigade needs but it's the duty of all sports fans to tempt non-believers into supping the glories held within this weighty tome. (Brian Donaldson)
I Mister Sandman Barbara Gowdy (HarperCollins £8.99) Redeﬁning Canadian society in the late 50s. this follows the familial discord experienced by an obviously dysfunctional but also downright strange brood. The sponge of the chaos is Joan. an ethereal child who chooses to live in a cupboard. Gowdy‘s best outing to date. this story rattles along cleverly and witty.
I Homebush Boy Thomas Kencally (Sceptre £5.99) The slim btrt satisfying memoirs of boyhood in Homebush by the Australian author of Schindler 's Ark. later filmed as Schindler 's List. this is proof positive that one never knows what the future holds. It is an everyday tale which is arrrusirrgly familiar and well-observed - girls. God and great sporting heroes all cast their influence.
I Gridiron Philip Kerr (Vintage £5.99) Kerr‘s rnost involving novel so far. Gridiron takes the technological revolution to town. LA. 1988 and The Gridiron. the ultimate smart building. its every function controlled by computer. is about to open. Two strange deaths have been attributed to saboteurs but. in cyber- reality. The Gridiron is plotting to destroy rts creators.
I Age and Guile P. J. 0‘ Rourke (Picador £6.99) Subtitled Beat Youth. lnrrocence and a Bad Haircut. this anthology plucks the pickings from ()‘Rourke's 25-year-old journalistic career. Showing his colours early with the underground press before rising to rtrb shoulders with the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone. politicising is less evident than in previous books but the humour is still constant.
I In Flagrant Dellcht Sun 16 Jun. 6.30pm. Kibble Palace. Botanic Gardens. £8. Info: 248 7676. Liz Lochhead and Michael Marra present an entertaining evening of songs. poems and readings.
I Chapman ilational Poetry Tour Wed 19 Jun. 6.30pm. Dillons. 174—76 Argyle Street. 248 4814. The exciting launch of ﬁve Chapman New Writers with Tom Bryan. Margaret Fulton Cook. George Gunn. Gordon Meade and Janet Paisley. I Ice Sage - Poetry and Music Fri 21 Jun. 7.30pm. Scotland-Russia Society. 8 Belmont Crescent. £2.50 on door. Radical music and song from poets Jack Withers. Donny O'Rourke and Loose Change.
I Iain M. lads Fri 21 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone‘s. Union Street. 221 0890. lain Banks‘s sci-ii alter ego signs copies of his latest title Excession (Orbit £ 15.99).
I Piece ’il’ fillet - A Poet’s Picnic Sat 22 Jun. noon. University of Glasgow. Gilbert Scott Building. West Quadrangle. Free (bring own picnic). An afternoon of poetry. music and sandwiches compared by Donny O’Rourke. with Liz Lochhead. Tom Leonard. ﬁautist Eddie McGuire and others.
I Eric lone: Mon 17 Jun. 6.30pm. James Thin. 57 George Street. 225 4495. The winner of the NCR Non-Fiction Award talks about his experiences narrated in The Railway Man (Vintage £6.99).
I Keith Bret- Tue 18Jun. 7pm. James Thin. 53-59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The popular naturalist gives a talk and slideshow to launch Foxes and ‘Hares (Colin Baxter £7), his latest additions to the World Life Library.
I Martin Foreman Tue 18 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone’s. 13/14 Princes Street. 556 3034. The author reads from his ambitious new novelThe Butterﬂy's Wing (GMP £8.95).
I Jostein Gaarder Wed 19 Jun. l—2prn. James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The best-selling author of Sophie is World signs copies of his new novel The Solitaire Mystery (Phoenix House £16.99).
I Jostein Gaarder Wed 19 Jtrn. 7.30pm. Waterstone's. 83 George Street. 225 3436. See above.
I Jay Mclnerney Wed 19 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone's. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. Regarded as one of the USA‘s ﬁnest living novelists. Mclnerrrey reads from his new novel Last Of'l‘he Savages (Bloomsbury £ 15.99).
I Eleanor Bron Wed 19 Jun. 7.30pm. Waterstone‘s. 83 George Street. 225 3436. The acclaimed actress charms readers with her debut novel set in the world of theatre Double 7ake (Orion £15.99).
I iteeitie Ma iiame Wed 19 Jun. 7.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50). The Netherbow. 43 High Street. 556 9579. The Scots Language Society presents a celebration of Edinburgh through the poetry of J .K. Annand. Douglas Fraser. Robert Garioch and AD. Mackie. accompanied by songs and music.
I Sheena McKay and Helen Simpson Thurs 20 Jun. 7pm. James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The authors read from and discuss their latest works The Orchard Of Fire (£12.99) and Dear George (£5.99). as part of Heinemann Writers for Summer Reading.
I Lucian elaga Thurs 20 Jun. 7.30pm. £3. The Romanian Cultural Centre. 166 High Street. The Royal Mile. 667 3397. A continued look at one of Romania’s most famous poets and philosophers. who was nominated for the Nobel Prize. in En lish and Romanian.
I Peter O’Toole Thurs 20 Jun. 7pm. £2. The Assembly Rooms. George Street. 226 2666. One of our most brilliant and original actors introduces the second volume of his autobiography Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice (Macmillan £16.99).
I Alice Thompson and Diran Adebayo Thurs 20 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone’s. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. Enjoy an evening ofchallenging new fiction as Alice Thompson reads from Justine (Canorrgatc £9.99). and l)iran Adebayo. winner of the Saga prize for new black British writing reads from Some Kind Of Black (Virago £9.99).
I lain M. Banks Fri 21 Jtrrr. l—2pm. James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The enormously successful author dons his science fiction but and signs copies of his new book Ercession (Orbit £ 15.99).
I Quentin Crisp Sat 22 Jun. 1 1am. Waterstone‘s. 13/14 Princes Street. 556 3034. The ﬂamboyant writer signs copies of his new book Resident Alien (HarperCollins £16.99).
I Alan Garner Tue 25 Jun. 7pm. £2. Traverse Theatre. Cambridge Street. 228 1404. The author of The Weirdstone 0f Brisingarnen brings us his most recent work. Strandloper (Harvel £14.99).
I Mark Simpson Tue 25 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone's. 13 Princes Street. 5563034. The journalist and author of Male Impersonators talks about his ‘hilariously perverse look at British culture in the 19905‘. It 's A Queer World (Vintage £8.99). I Ian Mitchell Wed 26 J urr. 7pm. James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The author of Mountain Footfalls (Mercat Press £8.99) presents a talk and slideshow about hillwalking.
I ‘There Must Be Fitty Ways . . .’ Wed 26 Jun. 7pm. Waterstone's. 13 Princes Street. 556 3034. Lyn Sutcliffe relates stories from There Must be Fifty Ways To Tell Your Mother (Casseli £8.99). and Graeme Aitken reads from his ﬁrst novel Fifty Ways 0f Saying Fabulous (Headline £5.99).
I Patrick Gale and William Corlett Thurs 27 J un. 7pm. Waterstone's. 13/ 14 Princes Street. 556 3034. The authors read from and sign copies of their new novels The Facts Of Life (HarperCollins £6.99) and Now And Then (Abacus £6.99) respectively.
“The List 14-27 Jun 1996 H