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 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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