The Creative Writing Interviews: Fred D’Aguiar

The Creative Writing Interviews form a series of interviews with contributors to our Creative Writing Studies list. Find out about their work and approach towards writing.

Frances Haynes writes: Fred D’Aguiar is Gloria D. Smith Professor of English at Virginia Tech, and a contributor to our forthcoming publication, Creative Writing. His 12 books of fiction and poetry are “hard to find but worth the hunt”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_D%27Aguiar for more information.

Fred, What do you write?

Everything except cookbooks and dog or cat whisperer books. I mean, poetry, fiction, plays, and essays.

Whom do you write for?

Me, myself and I! (Title song of a fine album by Joan Armatrading.) And the history of the Caribbean/UK/US.

What achievement are you most proud of as a writer?

Two sentences. The first, spoken by the ghost of a slave buried in an unmarked grave in an English town, from my third book of poems, British Subjects (published in the Jurassic age), – “Here the sentence is the wait and the weight is the sentence.” (From ‘At the Grave of the Unknown African’) The second, spoken by a very old man on a U.S. plantation (another slave) from my novel, The Longest Memory – “The future is more of the past waiting to happen.” (He’s somewhat depressed.)

What involvement do you have / have you had with creative writing as a university/college subject/discipline?

I’ve taught undergrads and grads for as long as I can remember, first in the UK and now here in the US.

What is your ambition as a writer?

To read and write and publish (and be damned) to my dying day.

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