‘The damage we suffer is mostly done to ourselves.’ Hanif Kureishi

‘The damage we suffer is mostly done to ourselves.’ Hanif Kureishi

There is a close connection between love and hate. In a sense, the people that you love are the people that you need the most. And the people that you need the most are the people who can deprive you of what you need.

One of the things that’s fascinated me about the human condition is how much people hate themselves. There’s something odd about the human animal – that most of the damage that we suffer is mostly done to ourselves.

If you really want a fascist and you get Nigel Farage, it’s really disappointing. He’s just, you know, hopeless. And that’s the sort of fascism that’s rather pathetic, and actually a reason to be proud of England. The fascist leaders of England are not like Mussolini.

The whole situation is awful. When you see a war growing and a fence around Europe and people scrabbling at the fence, you realise that you and I and the rest of us here will be living in a gated community. And it’s terrible for us that are in, and terrible for us that are outside as well.

I was 14 and I thought, I am so fucked, at school. I thought, I’ll become a writer. And that really cheered me up. And I could see that there was a way out, that at that moment there was a future. I was 14 or 15 and really in a bad way, and that saved me I think.

I suddenly felt less depressed. And I’ve felt less depressed ever since, because you make a future through words.

I’m a real pen queen. I love all that stuff… always fiddling around with my ink. There’s something very beautiful there.

Writing is like drawing for me. It’s slower… and you need it to be slow so you can see the words and you can cross them out and so on. It’s a visual experience for me as well as just an intellectual one.

Kafka worked for an insurance company. I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be an artist and an accountant or indeed a dominatrix.

When you’re at work, you are in some sense pleasing other people. You’re pleasing the boss; you have to go along with the system. When you’re an artist you go along with yourself.

It’s a terrific freedom in being an artist. I can say what I like to myself and to the world and I can make something, where there was nothing. There is something profoundly beautiful in being able to do that.

Did that [racism] make me into a writer? Probably, in the sense that I thought, at quite a young age, there must be other people in my situation and I can make them understand about this by writing a story.

From an event write-up by Anealla Safdar

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